MOVIE REVIEW: Mamma Mia 2 a sentimental, if messy, sequel
THIS might come as a shock to you, but it has been exactly 10 years since Mamma Mia! graced our cinema screens and had Australia dancing in the aisles.
The land down under was always kind to ABBA, and it is a love affair set to continue with the release of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
All the cast return for this follow-up story, which is evenly mixed with flashbacks as it tells the story of how Donna (Meryl Streep) became pregnant, and found herself on a Greek island.
As the film goes back and forth in time constantly, it shows how relationships were forged in the past with Lily James (Cinderella, Downton Abbey) plays the role of a young Donna.
Filling the roles of young Rosie and young Tanya are Alexa Davies and Jessica Keenan Wynn, and the flashbacks also tell the stories of how Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) ended up with three dads.
In the present day on the Greek island of Kalokairi, Sophie, with the support of Sam (Pierce Brosnan), her step-father, and one of her three possible biological dads, has dedicated herself to fulfilling Donna's dream of renovating the taverna. Sophie plans to transform it into the magnificent Hotel Bella Donna, while all the time wishing her husband would return home from his business trip.
Donna's greatest friends, Tanya (Christine Baranski) and Rosie (Julie Walters), arrive on the island, along with her other two dads for the lavish grand opening but Sophie's hotel manager, Señor Cienfuegos (Andy Garcia), warns that a terrible storm is approaching. Sophie is distraught as the wind and rain pound the island, leaving her opening party plans in tatters. To make matters worse, all transport is down.
The one question that everyone will ask about the Mamma Mia! sequel is: "is it as good as the first one?"
With 10 years between movies, it was always going to be hard to live up to the surprise and fun factors that made the musical a $600 million hit all over the world.
But in its favour, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again knows exactly who its audience is, and makes no apologies for delivering exactly what they want to see and hear.
Lilly James shows that her star is one that is on a huge climb to super stardom. She is comfortable in the role, is stunning to look at and lights up the screen every time she's on it.
This is a movie that will break your heart, make you laugh, make you smile, and then make you cry again before your jaw drops at the finale. With Richard Curtis on writing duties, the same man who brought you Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral, you know what you're in for.
You can call it cringingly, tacky, schmaltzy nonsense and roll your eyes every time a character hugs someone while saying "I love you".
Or you can sit back, leave all your troubles at the cinema door and have some fun. It is impossible not to tap your feet, and it's clear that the script was designed to work around the songs, rather than making songs fit in to a story because they simply have to be there.
The use of the ABBA classics is very clever, and die-hard fans may notice some lyrics changed to suit the times we live in. You'll never think of Fernando the same way again.
If you liked Mamma Mia! 10 years ago, then chances are you've already made plans to go and see the sequel this weekend.
By the time Cher struts her stuff in the finale, you'll be having too much fun to care about anything else in the world.
Yes it is sentimental,, but Mamma Mia! is also exactly what we need in the world right now.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again opens in cinemas tomorrow.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Stars: Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Andy Garcia, Cher.
Directors: Ol Parker
Verdict: 3 stars