Following on from the huge success of Mamma Mia!, the sequel finally arrived in cinemas, 10 years after the blockbuster musical’s first cinematic outing. Although setting a somewhat different tone, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, once again delivers an entertaining, audience pleasing emotional roller-coaster of a movie.
As mentioned, a decade has passed since the joyous events of the first film and, as expected, things have changed, most noticeably the absence of Donna (Meryl Streep). Her apparent death is never directly referenced, perhaps wisely so, but the events of the film surround her memory, with some touching moments beautifully incorporated amongst the fun and joy we expect. As Sophie, Donna’s daughter, plans a party to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated hotel she took on from her mother, we take a journey through the events and (perhaps more significantly) men that shaped Donna’s early life and island destiny.
One anticipated aspect was undoubtedly the music to be featured, with many people fearing all the most popular songs would have already been utilised, leaving the dregs of Abba’s back catalogue left for use. This, to a certain extent, was true, as I wasn’t the only member of the audience to question my knowledge of certain songs. However, it’s hard to say that this was to the detriment, with an explicitly fitting score complimenting the storyline. Of note, in particular, were scenes involving ‘Waterloo’, in which an adolescent Harry woos teenage Donna in a French restaurant to the uplifting tune, in an outrageously raucous routine and ‘Fernando’, performed by Cher, as Sophie’s grandmother, as she reunites with her former Latin lover.
With most of the cast revisiting their previous roles, it was left to the young versions of the characters to introduce us to new talent and performances to rave about. Lily James, as a young Donna, was immaculate in her portrayal, evoking as much emotion as she emanated beauty and effervescence in her performance. On the male cast, Hugh Skinner, as young Harry, lit up the screen with his juvenile enthusiasm and subtle, yet brilliantly humorous portrayal. And then there was Cher. Everybody knew she was coming, as the trailers gleefully announced, but that didn’t diminish the reaction she received, sending a palpable buzz of fervour through the audience. Her inclusion was a master stroke, along with her tempered use.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again delivers a knockout blow, with this seamless sequel, which will live long as another family favourite.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is in cinemas now.