Friday, July 18, 2008

Mama Mia Movie Review

Fun, beautiful, and thoroughly enjoyable. We saw Mama Mia today and really enjoyed the music, the acting, the story, and especially the imagery/cinematography. And, if you've never seen the stage version--then you, like me, will have fresh view of the movie.

Meryl Streep is fantastic in the lead role and as the movie progresses her singing actually improves as she becomes more sure of her voice.

As the movie opens it becomes an irresistible force for smiles and laughs. The music is fun, the story is fun and the location of the film is absolutely beautiful. That coupled with the strong acting by Pierce Brosnan is enjoyable too.

The professional reviewers reviews are mixed. Joel Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal writes During the first few minutes of Mamma Mia! I resisted the bombardment of good cheer, then surrendered almost unconditionally. Yes, of course this is fairly old-fashioned entertainment, but it's really, really entertaining." A.O. Scott in the New York Times found himself similarly torn. "You can have a perfectly nice time watching this spirited adaptation of the popular stage musical and, once the hangover wears off, acknowledge just how bad it is. ... If you insist on folding your arms, looking at your watch and defending yourself against this mindless, hedonistic assault on coherence, you are unlikely to survive until the end credits (which may, by themselves, kill you all over again). Surrender, on the other hand, is easy and painless. It's Greece! It's bellybuttons! It's Meryl Streep! It's Abba!" Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times remarks that he saw the original stage version and didn't think much of it then, even though it went on to become one of the biggest musical hits of the decade. "So here's the fact of the matter. This movie wasn't made for me. It was made for the people who will love it, of which there may be a multitude. The stage musical has sold 30 million tickets, and I feel like the grouch at the party." He has company. Michael Phillips, the Chicago Tribune critic, says that he's seen the stage version of Mamma Mia! three times. "It's disappointing, then, to see the film version of the stage hit turn out this way -- not lousy, but pushy." Lisa Kennedy in the Denver Post comments that the movie "too often feels like a souvenir program: something to revive the feelings you had watching the stage performance." And Michael Sragow in the Baltimore Sun comments that the movie "is like a party where everyone is so desperate to have a good time that it makes you miserable."

But the important one is the Baltimore Sun reviewer--if he hates it, it has to be a good movie.

A couple cautions for those who do not know the story--while the music is compelling and fun, there are references to sex and homosexuality.

Rating: See the movie on the big screen. This movie is fun and beautiful. Young children may not enjoy the adult story line--but the sights and sounds are worth the ride.

If you see the movie--come back and leave a comment about how you reacted to it. I'd love to know about your opinion of the movie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw it and loved it, even though I have to agree that it was a terrible movie. I'm not one of those who despises musicals on principle, though, so I was open to being entertained. What finally got to me during the movie and why I involuntarily "surrendered" to the film's jubilance was the fact that the actors and actresses were so obviously having a great time making this movie. I walked out after the credits, where Streep & Co. perform two more numbers on stage, mentally ticking off all the flaws in the film (bad continuity issues, bad singing, pacing issues) all the while realizing that I haven't had this much fun in a movie in a long while.

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