13th Aug2018

‘Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Andy Garcia, Celia Imrie, Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan, Omid Djalili, Stellan Skarsgård, Cher, Colin Firth | Written and Directed by Ol Parker


Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again doesn’t need any real insightful introduction as it is, of course, the decade long-awaited follow up to the 2008 box office smash hit Mamma Mia, advertently coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the former that somewhat evokes a strange similarity to Linklaters ‘Before Trilogy’ in a sort of majestic operatic version of life and trials and tribulations, albeit far more melodramatic and dazzling in its imperfections.

Interestingly Ol Parker’s sequel takes a structural decision in the same vein as Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather: Part II, which is a sentence I truly never thought would exist in this world. It orchestrates itself a sequel to events of its predecessor, as well as utilising the expositional events in the previous film played out now with a younger cast in a prequel, cutting back and forth from past to present, which ultimately storywise, plays well within the context of the plot and is executed considerably well with seamless edits by editor Peter Lambert. Superbly so in-fact and a considerable highlight to the film that boasts equally beautiful cinematography by Robert D. Yeoman, who captures such a terrific sense of space and landscape you’d be utterly convinced that this wasn’t shot in Croatia, which it was.

The performances are all relatively terrific. The older generation is deviously superb. Julie Walters, Christine Baranski both inject so much tailed humour and charisma, as do their male co-stars. Skarsgard, Brosnan and Firth are all equally as energetic and forthcoming in wit and poignancy. Undoubtedly the film is stolen by performances from both Cher and Andy Garcia, who are the personification of everything this film thematically entails in such high doses of rich classical ambience.

It is surprisingly the injection of fresh young talent that serves Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again the biggest, if not unfortunate stumbling block. The story just doesn’t justify the means and that’s a sentiment I add to both elements of the story, both forward and backwards – there just isn’t much here. The progression of the events in the predecessor is five minutes or so of plot that is ridiculously dragged at, by no means an issue with the layers of entertainment it brings, but ultimately doesn’t suffice to be a substantial story that has any progression.

The re-telling of events set in the past are, and I risk the fierce hierarchy looking down on me in disgust, redundant. It showcases nothing the audience didn’t beforehand and has filled the time slot with events that are not necessarily redundant, by no means but beyond anything worthy of true intrigue or necessity for that matter. The issue of the story comes unequivocally from a decision regarding the story arc of the character played by Meryl Streep, due to certain issues surrounding artistic and contextual choices made that ultimately infuriate. And the less said about that, undoubtedly the better.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is in cinemas now.


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