Last week, I saw Mamma Mia! on the big screen.
Were I to judge the movie by its component parts, I would give this one low ratings, very low.Â The choreography is both campy and cheesy. Pierce Brosnan,Â while he looks fine on screen, can’t carry a tune.Â There’s no chemistry between the young lovers, Dominic Cooper and Amanda Seyfried. The former would be more believable if he were telling his on-screen fiancÃ©e that while she was his best friend, he just met a boy . . . .
I mean, who was it who decided not to have someone else sing Brosnan’s part? Marni Nixon sang for Natalie Wood (West Side Story), Audrey Hepburn (My Fair Lady) and Deborah Kerr (The King and I). At least Wood and Hepburn had more passable singing voices than does the one-time James Bond. (I don’t know much about Kerr’s singing abilities, but have heard the other two sing; neither voice grates as much as did that of this male movie star).
All that said, I can’t get the movie out of my head and want to see it again. It was, simply put, a lot of fun. Meryl Streep was amazing as Donna, the lead, convincing both as a mother and as a one-time somewhat “loose” woman finding herself, all of a sudden, in some unusual and tense situations. She was, as always, a delight to watch. It looked like she had a lot of fun making the movie as I did watching it. (I read she really enjoyed the Broadway show and was thrilled be cast in the film.)
While Christine Baranski was not nearly as good as she was (in a much smaller role) in Birdcage, Julie Walters made up for her on-screen friend’s lackluster performance. And Colin Firth was, as always, convincing and compelling, particularly with that little twist at the end which, I hear, was added in for the film. 🙂
And the music. It reminded how pleasant good ol’ classic pop music can be. The songs were just fun to listen to. I get why Abba inspired the band Erasure and the movieThe Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. Makes me want to watch that Australian flick again.
I did stop at Virgin to buy Abba Gold, the CD containing most of the film’s songs — as well as a few other Abba classics. Great to listen to when driving around LA on a hot day.
And then there were the costumes. When you see it, make sure to stay until the very end to see the concluding numbers.
I guess all this goes to show is that even with as many flaws as this flick, we can still enjoy it.Â It just needs to entertain us. And Mamma Mia! succeeded.Â Odd though some of the directing and choreography may have been, it was a lot of fun.Â I want to see this movie again.
UPDATE from Bruce (GP):Â I mostly agree with Dan’s review (having also seen it last weekend).Â But as a veteran watcherÂ of Mamma Mia! on stage — the movie sticks pretty much to the London/Broadway version in all of its aspects.Â
For one thing, Skye and Sophie aren’t the main relationship action in the story — frankly he is just there (in the film and on the stage) for he and his hunky friends to provide the audience with shirtless eye candy.Â The most compelling relationship dynamic (again, in both versions) for me is Donna and Sophie; Sophie and her Dad(s); and Donna and Sam.Â Interestingly enough all of the “Sams” (including Brosnan) that I’ve seen perform the role have had singing voices that leave a lot to be desired.Â
Finally, the music is great — seeing the stage versions made me go out and buy ABBA Gold, too!Â And,Â Amanda Seyfried (Sophie) has by far the best singing voice in the movie (IMHO).Â Â I’d see it again too… but Batman is now at the top of the list!