Mamma Mia! The Movie
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
Starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan
Paramount Home Entertainment
Release date: December 16, 2008
I have a confession to make that might be a bit embarrassing. I am a closet musical fan. I think it might have been my exposure to Disney cartoons as a child and my love for impromptu dance sequences that attributed to this love but I am a sucker for them. So, it was only natural that, when given the opportunity, I took the chance watch and review Mamma Mia! The Movie for Blu-ray.
Based on the extremely popular Broadway show, Mamma Mia! The Movie tells the story of Sophie, played by Amanda Seyfried. Sophie is about to be married and her only wish is to be walked down the aisle by her father. The problem is, he left before she was born and her mother Donna (Meryl Streep) has never talked about him. On the eve of her wedding, Sophie decides to invite her father to the wedding in the guise of Donna. Narrowing down the potential candidates for her father based on Donna’s diary, she invites Harry (Colin Firth), Sam (Pierce Brosnan), and Bill (Stellan Sarsgard) to the wedding and knows for sure that she will know who her father is just by looking at them. Obviously Donna finds out as old feelings resurface and hilarity and singing ensue.
Written by Catherine Johnson, who also wrote the Broadway show, Mamma Mia! is a lively, giddy, sentimental musical that is unapologetic for what it is. Is it terribly goofy? Well, of course it is. When actors spontaneously break out into song and dance, it is hard not to be goofy but the movie’s big name stars make it work. Streep, Brosnan, and Firth all do their share of singing, dancing, and seem to love every minute of it. Their enthusiasm is infectious and with the musical’s soundtracks, it is not hard to see why. The entire musical is scored by the hit library of Swedish pop band of yesteryear ABBA. Even if you are not a fan of the band’s hit song “Dancing Queen” or “Mamma Mia,” really up tempo pop songs grabs anyone’s attention. I was not even a fan of the band when I watched the movie even I was singing ” I Have a Dream” a day and a half after seeing the movie.
All the actors sing their own songs as well and while most of them can hold a note, it is Streep and Seyfried who shows that sisters are doing it for themselves. Seyfried, formerly doomed heiress Lilly Kane on Veronica Mars and can currently be seen on Big Love, has got some set of pipes on her. She truly can hold a note and displays some not so shabby acting chops as well. It is so hard to find an actor’s type of actor in the industry that can sing and act and Seyfried does both perfectly with a dash of sex appeal.
Seyfried is great but it is Streep who steals the show. Streep is known best for her acting skills but I had no idea she could carry a tune. She belts out tunes effortlessly like she was born on Broadway, a feat that is harder to accomplish than one is led to believe (Watch Pierce Brosnan or Christine Baranski attempt to sing solo and you will see my point). Watching her singing, jumping on a bed, and dancing down a pier with a gaggle of women, it is hard to believe that she is almost 60 years old.
The movie is not without its share of problems though. For one thing, while the goofiness is fine, the overacting is a big issue. I understand that in a musical, everything, from dance moves to voice projection, must be louder and flashier so that everyone in the theater can see it. It is necessary in a film. Also, I found the dance numbers in the musical to be a bit lacking. Most of the dancing consisted of various jumps and I was hoping for larger dance numbers to accompany the soundtrack.
The Blu-ray edition offers few extras from the standard DVD version. There is picture in picture, where you can play the movie and the special features all at once. There is also a u control option that gives you the chance to go right to the specific song that you are interested to listen to. The best feature that is on both the Blu-ray and standard is the sing along option. Sing Along gives the viewers a chance to follow with the songs as it is playing karaoke style. The only problem is that it clashes with the subtitles option (but fear not: the lyrics still show up in the subtitles).
Overall, I really dug Mamma Mia! The Movie. The music was great and the acting, while over the top, was enjoyable. If you like musicals, you will definitely enjoy this movie and if you are not, you definitely need to take a chance on this movie. You will not regret it.