Mamma Mia! (2008) Poster


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Surprisingly good
sofie-175 July 2008
Went to see Mamma Mia without particularly high expectations. Not being a big connoisseur (or even fan) of musicals, I didn't really know what to expect. Though I adore ABBA, I never bothered to watch the stage production of Mamma Mia. But having a cinema membership, I didn't have much to lose (no money, at least), so I went for it. And boy, am I glad that I did! I can safely say that I enjoyed every second of it. And I'm not even ashamed to admit it!

Give Meryl Streep another Oscar and get it over with already. If she could get a nod for the Devil Wears Prada, she definitely deserves one for this. She really let her hair down on this one. Mrs. Streep can obviously not pass for a trained singer, but somehow, it just doesn't seem to matter. It just really worked in the movie (unlike -say- Helena Bonham Carter's singing in Sweeney Todd). When I heard Meryl's rendition of "The winner takes it all" in advance, it lowered my expectations considerably, but in its context, it totally made sense.

Most of all though, this movie was just sheer fun. People were clapping, laughing...Rarely have I seen an audience as enthusiastic. The crowd especially responded well to Meryl and her two cronies (arguably the strongholds of the movie). Also, because I had never seen the musical before, I was amazed (and amused) at the inventive ways in which they managed to incorporate so many ABBA-songs. Equally brilliant was the way the extras (usually some Greek old women) were deployed throughout the movie...And then of course the setting (beautiful Greece) was mesmerizing...

Basically, Mamma Mia is a superb musical that doesn't take itself too seriously. If you're just a little bit crazy and want to have a good laugh, if you love ABBA, want to see Meryl Streep like you've never seen her before or if you simply have a secret crush on Colin Firth and/or Pierce Brosnan (his singing was nothing short of hilarious), you will LOVE this movie. Best summer flick so far. Warmly recommended.
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Utterly joyous
Neil Welch10 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I like, but don't love, musicals - my DVD shelves contain a selection, but the stuff there is pretty obvious: Singing in the Rain, King and I, Wizard of Oz, Moulin Rouge etc.. I'm not a Meryl Streep fan - I admire her craft, but mostly haven't liked the parts she's played. Conversely, I've always liked Abba's music. So that's my starting point when considering this movie which I have just been to see with my 80-year old mother.

The story is a piece of fluff. Sophie, who lives with her mother in a dilapidated hotel on an idyllic Greek island, wants nothing more than for her father to be at her forthcoming wedding. The trouble is her father could be any one of three men with whom her mother dot dot dotted twenty years ago. So Sophie invites all three of them to her wedding and, as expected, complications ensue. The story, such as it is, is quite strong enough to enable the songs to be hooked onto it. And the songs, with one or two obvious exceptions (Money Money Money cued by the rundown state of the hotel) are very cannily worked into the story so that each one is relevant.

The film looks great. The Greek locations overflow with sun and primary colours. The script is mostly fairly deft, and there is a sprinkling of decent laughs.

But the film ultimately stands or falls - and it stands, believe me! - on two things: the music, and the cast.

The music - sitting through this film brings home the strength of the Abba catalogue. There isn't a weak song among the two dozen which feature on the soundtrack. The music, produced by composer Benny Andersson, mostly wisely sticks very close to the original arrangements, and the occasional divergences (Greek bouzouki on I Had A Dream, for instance) are spot on.

And the cast - well, they deliver. Brosnan's singing has been criticised, but he is always in tune, and he delivers a satisfactory vocal performance rather than dazzling with a polished singing technique (which he hasn't got). The four leading women are all wonderful. Julie Walters and Christine Baranski as Meryl Streep's two oldest friends are both very funny (Julie Walters has a particularly funny little bit of business in a rubber boat), and Baranski has her own knockout number. Amanda Seyfried as Sophie is simply delightful - she sings well, carries the plot and all the emotion which goes with it, and is very easy on the eye. And Meryl Streep is a revelation.

This film is an utterly joyous experience. My old Mum and I came out of the cinema buoyed up by the experience of watching it, and I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who enjoys musicals and/or Abba's music.
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Brilliant feel good laugh out loud film
fionaallen24 June 2008
I saw this film at the screening on Sunday and was not too sure of what to expect from it. I hadn't seen the west end show so was not really aware of the story line but that really did not matter.

As soon as the first song started I was loving it! The actors may not be that great at singing but does it matter?! They are actors after all and this is not the west end! The actors play the parts really well and make fun of themselves at the same time. The story line is fun and has laughs for all ages. Julie Waters is her fantastic self in it and Meryl Streep plays the mother really well. The dance scenes are great and well put together. Loads of people in the cinema were singing and dancing in their seats so just enjoy it and have some laughs for a few hours.

If you take it for what it is, a fun laugh out loud film with good actors and fantastic songs, then you will enjoy this film so much.I suspect that this will be a summer box office hit! Enjoy it and have fun - you may need your tissues though as I'm pretty sure some of you will be crying with laughter at some of the scenes.
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Blotkey19 June 2008
I didn't know what to expect when going into watch "Mamma Mia", was this gonna be another Hairspray or Across the Universe or Rent? This was a lighthearted, quite enjoyable movie of its own style, Meryl Strep blew the entire audience away with her comedic persona in this movie. After seeing her in Devil Wears Prada, you are shaken momentarily after seeing her climb on top a roof singing "Mamma Mia!" and swoon and the dance teenage giddy girl dance. You'll love this movie for trio of older woman characters, they were all so funny. Mr. James Bond's character and singing was such a hilarious delight for the audience, we couldn't believe this was the man who played a top secret spy agent.

With just the right amount of eccentricity, heart, and *get out of those movie chairs and DANCE IN THE AISLE* ABBA music, you'll never want this adventure to end.
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Here we go again ...
Chris_Docker1 July 2008
Mamma Mia! Does the mention of anything Abba-ish send you cringing to a corner? Or are you already joining in and dancing on the tabletops? Maybe another few drinks . . .

In short, if you are not allergic to Abba, book your tickets now. If you are, why would you be reading this? At a pinch, it is worth seeing for Meryl Streep alone, who not only throws herself headlong into every refrain with unashamed gusto, but adds a touch of class and nuance to what otherwise could be a one-dimensional adaptation. Streep vacillates engagingly between playing herself and not taking herself too seriously. Pierce Brosnan just about keeps up, and manages more expressions than he ever did as James Bond. Colin Firth and Julie Waters trail behind somewhat. Yet Mama Mia! is a roller coaster of emotion, careering colourfully from the blue waters of the Adriatic, bursting 'like Aphrodite's Fountain' into the lives of Donna (Meryl) , her lovers and friends, and her soon-to-be-wed daughter. It is the party spirit that says kick your shoes off and sing silly cheesy songs. Altogether now.

And yes – there's a story. Donna's daughter Sophie is getting married. To the buff-looking Sky. Only – where's her dad? She's never met him. A sneak-peek at Mom's diary shows Mom had three lovers before Sophie was born and Sophie secretly invites all of them. This is a film of threesomes. Three past lovers (Sam, Bill and Harry). Three close friends (Donna and two best pals). And, not to be outdone, Sophie meets up with two other young girls at the start of the film.

The breakneck pace still allows for brilliantly put together shots. Like Streep doing a 'Titanic' with drapes blowing in the wind. Or a pier-load of young hunky stag night crew doing a dance in trunks and deep-dive flippers. Moonlit boats and beaches to "I Have a Dream." Filmed on location, the views won't disappoint. And like a favourite song whose ending we know, the drama is in the details and execution.

As with many adapted-from-stage musicals, two young leads are played by talented singers, and the older parts by serious actors can sing well enough. Streep manages extremely well. Her performance is so professional and assured it leaves others standing. Fortunately, it is perhaps easy to paper over any cracks in musical comedy. Sweeney Todd relied heavily on Depp's charisma and stunning cinematography. Across the Universe, too heavily on the songs. Mamma Mia!, on the other hand, simply tailors everything to its joyous headlong rush. The songs fit naturally to the action. Streep even manages to sing them with her tongue firmly in cheek. She confesses to having been a "stupid reckless little slut" but then says she "grew up". (To which her pals chime in, "Well grow back down again!") The film is not without faults. There is a notable lack of chemistry between the people that throw themselves rapturously against each others' faces. Even Streep looks less than convincing in a brief lips-mash. And the men are a bit croaky in the singing department (Hugh Grant might even have been a preferable casting choice). And some of the time-line is wobbly. For instance, strange as it may seem, music from more than twenty years ago does not all come from the same era. So reminiscing about flower power (early sixties) in the same breath as a Johnny Rotten t-shirt (Sex Pistols, mid-late seventies) is either anachronistic or wishful thinking.

Sadly, I am of a generation that can remember Abba-mania. The records would shoot to number one. Yet even then few people would admit to buying them. I used to manage a night club, and Abba was great music to ask a girl up to dance. My entire chat-up repertoire at that time consisted of, "Would you like to dance?" and "Do you want to come back for a coffee?" But girls would be so happy dancing to Mamma Mia they'd say yes anyway. I'd fall in love with a new girl each week. Ah, those were the days! Now there's a new generation of Abba fans who have no need to 'come out of a closet'. Abba is retro-chique. Even Madonna segued an Abba riff into one of her songs. From karaoke to hen nights. From '70s' nights to gay dance-floors. Dress up. Camp it up. Sing it up. Get sassy and cheesy. Or, if you're old enough to remember, fly back in time to wonderful memories.

Mamma Mia!, whatever detractors might say, has been one of the most successful stage shows of recent times. Supported by the same director and original band members, the movie may well reach the similar fan bases. Or just the party spirit in all of us.
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Super Pooper
Joseph Belanger20 July 2008
Let me tell you. Just because I've been listening to ABBA almost non-stop since I saw MAMMA MIA! two days ago does not mean I enjoyed the film all that much. It's just the Swedish pop super group's music is so darn infectious. You would think that energy would translate to feel-great good time at the movies but sadly this is not the case. First time feature filmmaker, Phyllida Lloyd, spends far too much time dragging her feet when they should be dancing up and down the beach and no matter how many shots of the moonlight shimmering against the waves there are, the film is still a clunker instead of a stunner.

When a musical is paper thin on the stage, it runs the risk of being just plain silly on the screen. On the stage, MAMMA MIA! is a somewhat justified excuse to revive a bunch of ABBA tracks wrapped into a completely implausible, overly romantic farce. Young Sophie (played on screen by Amanda Seyfried) is but 20 and about to marry the very supportive and very handsome, Sky (Dominic Cooper). Something is missing though. Sophie has lived on this tiny Greek island her entire life and helped run a crumbling hotel with her mother, Donna (Meryl Streep) but she has never met her father. As far as she knows, he left before her mother could say anything to him but a chance encounter with her mother's diary from the summer of her conception narrows the possible men to three. So rather than talk to her mother about her desire to know where she came from, she invites all three men (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard) to her wedding, pretending to be her mother looking for a reunion. Naturally all three men accept the invite and hijinks ensue. While the campiness of the whole affair is forgiven on stage because the suspension of disbelief doesn't apply, this screen version is too far removed from the stage to feel the least bit plausible.

I believe in angels, something good in everything I see. And while there is very little good to focus on in MAMMA MIA!, at least there is always surprising Streep. She jumps up and down on beds, slides down banisters without the least bit of concern for breaking her hip. She can sing too. Much like she did in THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, Streep's performance as the lonely mother of the bride carries the film forward and, in the show stopping "The Winner Takes It All", elevates the film to heights it could never have achieved without her participation. Though the two don't get nearly enough screen time together, Streep and Seyfriend make a great mother/daughter combo. Seyfried's fresh exuberance seems like it might actually be inherited from her movie mom. The rest of the cast delivers varying results – Julie Walters clearly thinks she is a comic genius but she comes off too brash; Christine Baranski is miscast as an older bombshell making for some particularly awkward moments with younger men; and someone should ensure that Pierce Brosnan never sings on screen again.

Ultimately, MAMMA MIA! never connects all of its components. A melodramatic moment is followed by a peppy ABBA song, which somehow erases everyone's pain. In that sense, ABBA's music is the perfect choice to set the tone as it is some of the most depressing pop lyricism set to upbeat melodies in pop history. While the contrast adds weight to the songs themselves, the musical masking casts an air of falseness that never lifts. What your left with is a compilation of poorly choreographed, plainly sung music videos. No offence, Meryl, but you are long past your MTV days.
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James Bond needs singing lessons!
rayclister10 July 2008
I did enjoy this romp in the Greek Islands and was surprised at how well Meryl Streep sang. It's light, full of froth and bubble and perhaps has some aspects of Grease and Bollywood in it. The reason the music works I feel is that they haven't really messed with the arrangements of the songs keeping them generally faithful to the Abba originals. But Pierce Brosnan's vocal efforts were abysmal, almost laughable. Perhaps it was meant to be a send up of the original songs all the way through but he really did manage to mangle the vocals in my opinion. If you have seen the musical on stage you will know what to expect and there are some funny moments in the film and the Greek islands are as always a superb backdrop for the action.
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Good light hearted fun for the summer
Kristine20 July 2008
With this big opening weekend either you're going to see the darker film The Dark Knight or you are going to see something more light hearted like Mamma Mia! Now I work at a movie theater, a lot of people were just assuming that everyone was going to see The Dark Knight, yesterday someone came up disappointed saying "my show sold out"... I looked at her with a smiling face and said "oh, yeah, dark knight, I know"... she said "no, mamma mia", I looked up all surprised, Mamma Mia sold out as well, people were really looking forward to this movie as well. I did see this movie on Saturday and really enjoyed it, as cheesy as it was, I do enjoy musicals, I think the only thing is that this this is the happiest musical that I have ever seen. So it was nice to just sit there and be happy with these characters and you can't help but laugh at the predicaments that they get themselves into.

Sophie is a young woman who is about to tie the knot with her loving and adventurous fiancée, Sky, her life is great. She has a very loving mother, Donna, who is running a broke down hotel in Greece and used to be in a girl group called The Donna's. Sophie has one problem, she has never met her dad, she finds her mom's diary and discovers that she has three potential fathers. She invites them all to the wedding putting her mom's name on the invitation. So the three men: Sam, Harry, and Bill come to see her and Sophie is caught in a situation where she doesn't know who's her real dad, but they end up having the time of their lives and enjoying life together.

Mamma Mia is the light hearted comedy that I'm sure any musical lover could enjoy. I loved how well paced it was and how the cast looked like they had the ultimate time making this film, that's what made it so much fun. This film also brings a lot of fun energy into you and just keeps you smiling. The songs were very catchy, which I know this musical was based on the songs of Abba, so we have that good old 70's groove going on. I would recommend Mamma Mia, if you're looking to smile, laugh, and dance, I'm sure you'll love to see Mamma Mia. It's a sweet film with the cheesy plot that is so much fun to laugh at, plus it has men in speedo's who are dancing like crazy, where can you go wrong with that? OK, you can, but it's all good.

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Whose idea was it to make a musical where no one can sing or dance?
Roland E. Zwick19 July 2008
Armed with irresistible hooks, soaring melodies and near-celestial vocal stylings, the Swedish pop group ABBA churned out a body of insanely catchy and superbly crafted tunes - "Waterloo," "SOS," "Fernando," "Dancing Queen," "The Winner Takes it All," etc. - that made it the world's top-selling musical act of the 1970's and early 1980's. Several decades later, ABBA's music became the basis for a hit stage musical entitled "Mamma Mia!" in which a simple narrative was deftly woven around many of the quartet's songs. Now, the much-ballyhooed movie version of "Mamma Mia!," written by Catherine Johnson and directed by Phyllida Lloyd, has arrived on the scene.

The story takes place on a beautiful Greek island where the never-married Donna (Meryl Streep) single-handedly runs a modest hotel for an ever-thinning crowd of tourists. Her daughter, Sophie (the charming Amanda Seyfried), has never known who her real father is, mainly because Donna herself doesn't even know. With the help of her mother's diary from twenty years ago, Sophie narrows the candidates down to three (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard), then secretly invites them to her wedding in the hope that she will be able to figure out which of them is her real father in time to have him accompany her down the aisle.

On stage, "Mamma Mia!" succeeded primarily because it was able to keep its wafer-thin storyline modest in scale and life-sized in scope. But blown up to the magnified proportions of the big screen, the material becomes a compendium of overacting (Julie Walters being the most egregious culprit in that regard), ham-handed literalization, forced spontaneity, and production values that look both gaudy and chintzy at one and the same time. Moreover, the direction is clunky, the choreography abysmal (especially compared to what we were treated to in "Hairspray" just a year ago), the photography either over or underexposed (depending on whether the scene is set at night or during the day), and the singing not unlike what one might hear emanating from the local pub on an average karaoke-night.

In fact, there has always been an inherent problem built into "Mamma Mia!," which is that much of ABBA's charm derives from the crystalline voices of its lead singers, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog. Take away those harmonies and at least a certain percentage of that charm is lost. Now the movie version of "Mamma Mia!" comes along and simply compounds the problem by hiring big-name actors rather than trained singers to somehow interpret the pieces for us. Indeed, this must be the only musical in movie history made up almost entirely of people who can't sing (at least in the old days they used to dub the voices in if they had to). One has to give Streep brownie points for at least trying to belt out the tunes, but her rendition of "The Winner Takes it All," which was the rafter-rattling showstopper in the stage version, falls flat due not only to her own inadequacies as a vocalist but to the awkward staging and foolish hand gestures she uses to accompany her singing (almost as if she were trying to act out the lyrics as she's singing them). Actually, I've never understood why anyone would buy either the original cast recording or the soundtrack to "Mamma Mia!" anyway when the real thing is readily available and clearly far superior to any imitation.

All that being said, I am still inclined to at least half-heartedly recommend that people go to see this movie for a number of reasons. First, because the music itself (written by Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus) is fun, infectious and finally irresistible, no matter how much the singers may be unintentionally stomping all over it; second, because even though their singing leaves much to be desired, Streep, Bosnan and Seyfried somehow make us care about the characters and the silly little predicament they're caught up in; and third, because there are a number of scenes that actually work quite nicely, the best being when Donna sings the sweet mother's lament "Slipping Through My Fingers" (a song clearly within Streep's limited vocal range) to her soon-to-be-wed daughter. Streep and Seyfried are both very moving and poignant not only in that particular scene but in all of the scenes in which they appear together.

For the half dozen or so audience members who aren't already familiar with the ABBA oeuvre, one can only hope that they will use "Mamma Mia!" as a springboard to sampling the real deal.
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Vaudeville, but not "Musical Theater"
Al Rodbell28 July 2008
I love musicals, all of them, from joyous Oklahoma, to Poignant Porgy and Bess, to the touching romantic "Damn Yankees." And I know most of the songs, sometimes singing them spontaneously, with a crowd or humming them alone.

In a "real" musical, as differentiated from this vaudeville show, every song is painstakingly crafted to fit the exact moment. It is an expression of sadness, regret, love, joy or exaltation--a natural extension where mere words fail. So, in Guys and Dolls, "My Time of Day" describes the adventurous life of Sky Masterson as it is about to be compromised by the most unlikely woman. Every song in this brilliant exemplar of the genre sets a mood, or develops a character, creating a phantasmagoria of place, turned absolutely believable by the self disclosing evocations of song.

For this lover of the Broadway Musical, and their adaptations to the screen during the last half of the 20th century, Mama Mia is somewhere between satire and a cruel fun house distortion of the genre. There, the songs of these musicals advanced the often elaborate, often delightful, plot lines. While here, the songs, simply picked up from a collection, only interfered with the shaky premise of the film.

Perhaps most of those viewers who are making this film into a monumental success simply have no exposure to the art form of 20th century Musicals. They have no idea of the magic performed by writer and lyricist that can turn a dance hall floozy into someone whom we know and love, as achieved in "Sweet Charity."

Let me offer an apology for the arrogance of this review. Perhaps, another day, another mood, I could have gotten into it, and not have been so critical in this review.

But I can't help but imagining what Richard Roger, Oscar Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and so many others could have done even with with this silly premise. I think about it, while the memories of seeing this film is fresh, and I can not help but to mourn the great loss.
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Take a Chance... It's Surprisingly Brilliant!
jess-1548 July 2008
TheFanCarpet.Com - Initial Reaction

Take a Chance... It's Surprisingly Brilliant!

While the majority of the film is brilliantly silly, Meryl Streep gives us an emotional show stopping performance of 'The Winner Takes It All. Who wouldn't pay to see James Bond singing 'SOS'? Pierce Brosnan was humorously over-emoting everything but it worked perfectly within the context of the film.

Donna and Sophie (Mother and Daughter) are perfectly cast with an uncanny similarity in both looks and personality. Julie Walters almost steals the whole show, sorry I mean film, with her performance of 'Take a Chance on Me'.

It does take you about 20 minutes to settle down from the excitement of this outstanding cast singing their hearts out. I'm not the biggest 'movical' fan but if go in with an open mind and a bunch of people and you'll leave uplifted and pleasantly surprised.
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Absolutely Horrible
aportilla11 August 2008
When Dante, Faust, Nietzsche and Kafka wrote about the solitude and despair of human existence, this is what they were actually writing about. Sitting there watching this movie made me feel alone in the world with no hope of rescue but for the inevitable end of this shrill musical.

Do you remember when you saw a scary movie for the first time at a very early age and kept telling yourself that it was going to be over soon? Or when you looked into the closet at night and had to turn away because your mind couldn't take it? This is how I felt waiting for this movie to be over. It was simply the bottom of the barrel.

I am not crazy about musicals to begin with and went to see it with two of my family members whom I knew would enjoy it on some level. I don't regret going because sometimes it's OK to see a movie with and for a friend. If you like musicals Im sure it wont traumatize you as it did me and anyway I suppose there's also nothing wrong with people singing and wanting to enjoy themselves...I just don't want to ever be a part of it if it's going to look and sound like this.
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Painful to the mind
lecaplat3 January 2009
I like Abba but couldn't stand the singing,

Why the hell didn't they voice over the original version ?

This must be a rhetorical question : "Just to prevent Agnetha and Anni-Frid from getting any cent."

How generous !

Next the plot : It is about a bunch of silly British people that colonize (is there any other word for people that invade other countries to bring their despicable habits and ignore the locals) a beautiful Greek island Without even trying to speak a word of Greek, they manage an hotel for British tourists. (hope the credit crunch ruined them).

Go to Benidorm (Spain) and meet those morons and see how they behave there.

For me it was simply painful, I had to leave the theater, my wife stayed and told me that the audience was clapping during the credits. (Expectations are quite low these times.)

I think the only thing that made the success of this movie is Abba music. A computer generated musical with chimpanzees singing Abba would have succeeded as well.

If you like Abba, watch Priscilla... the movie is much better.
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Can't This Just Go Away.
hawkbadger5623 July 2008
I don't know where most of you were at, but where I watched the film we didn't have people singing as some have told they experienced, we had people laughing, mostly at the campy plot line, the horrible dance sequences and the singing of the likes of Brosnan. The only people in the audience who seemed to be enthralled with the film were the seventies generation folks who were some how reliving the past with the songs. I was a DJ in the seventies and even went to the ABBA concert at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton in Sept of 79, so I did appreciate them then and I still do now. But this film should have gone the same way as their marriages and ended in divorce. The sequences were so poorly staged, the dubbing and editing absolutely horrible and this has to be Meryl's worst production. I cannot believe an academy award winner would stoop so low as to do this piece of garbage. So save your money, wait for it to come out on DVD and then maybe spend your money on something better, like cat litter.
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Sorry but where have all your critical faculties gone?
badajoz-12 January 2009
Having avoided seeing the movie in the cinema, but buying the DVD for my wife for Xmas, I had to watch it. I did not expect much, which usually means I get more than I bargained for. But 'Mamma Mia' - utter, utter cr**. I like ABBA, I like the songs, I have the old LPs. But this film is just terrible. The stage show looks like a bit of a musical, but this races along with songs hurriedly following one another, no characterisation, the dance numbers (which were heavily choreographed according to the extras on the DVD) are just thrown away with only half the bodies ever on screen, the dance chorus of north Europeans appear on a small Greek island at will, while the set and set up of numbers would have disgraced Cliff Richard's musicals in the sixties!Meryl (see me I'm acting)Streep can't even make her usual mugging effective in an over-the-top musical! Her grand piece - 'The Winner Takes It All' - is Meryl at the Met! Note to director - it should have been shot in stillness with the camera gradually showing distance growing between Streep and Brosnan! Some of the singing is awful karaoke on amateur night. The camera cannot stop moving like bad MTV. One can never settle down and just enjoy the music, enthusiasm and characters. But what is even worse is how this botched piece of excre**** has become the highest grossing film in the UK and the best selling DVD to boot? Blair, Campbell and New Labour really have reduced the UK to zombies - critical faculties anyone???
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A Stinker of a Movie
tploomis23 January 2009
This is the worst movie I have seen in the last five years. If you think ugly Americans stinking it up in a foreign country is bad, you should see these Brits ruining a picturesque little slice of Greece. Everybody acts like they're drunk and having a grand old time-- it's excruciating to watch. Nobody can sing. Meryl Streep has done somber, depressed roles in the past that are really good, but she is just terrible in this movie. I hope this doesn't mean she has lost her ability to pick good roles for herself. This movie felt like the actors got on board because they thought it would be great fun to have a party in Greece, but they forgot they had to make a movie.
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Probably the worst ever transformation from stage to screen
trevorwynne7 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is my second review of Mamma Mia as I now have had the chance to watch it as a movie rather than a screen version of the successful stage show.

I think that being eager to have the distribution rights Universal gave Judy Craymer (the producer) a free reign to make the film as she wished. Ms Craymer, with no experience of films or filming, believed that she had an epic musical on her hands. She roped in her stage director, Phyllida Lloyd, who has never made a film before and had no idea how to transform the show from the confines of the theatre onto the big screen. She also roped in her stage choreographer and many other stage crew who also have no idea of the transformation from stage to big screen and the result is an amateurish production that relies totally on the ABBA feel-good factor and a participating audience.

Ms Craymer's idea was to cast big-name stars who, despite the film being a musical, had no singing or dancing abilities. If that was not bad enough, she also hired a cinematographer who had problems getting the light correct and camera angles right. Everything about the film is terrible and an embarrassment to watch at times. The screaming girls at the beginning. Brosnan looking more like James Bond in drag. Julie Walters hopelessly over-acting. Meryl Streep and Christine Baranski behaving like girl guides on their first date, despite supposedly being mature women in their 40s or 50s. The ensemble who were more like young children in a school play than professional dancers. Even in their brief cameos, Benny and Bjorn grinned at the camera as though it was the first time they had ever been filmed. Catherine Johnson's lacklustre script that sounded more like a working class play "We danced on the beach and kissed on the beach and dot dot dot!" to quote a ludicrous example. Brosnan occasionally talking as if he was on the football terraces, particularly when he cheered Meryl on during 'Souper Trouper'. Did anyone check the continuity on the film, as there seemed to be so many disjointed examples particularly whilst Meryl Streep was singing 'Mamma Mia'. At the end when the main stars were dressed in spandex suits they could not contain their laughter. When Meryl sang the moving "The Winner Takes It All", she and Brosnan stood motionless whilst the camera whizzed around in the air. The "Voulez Vous" scene when you could not even work out what was happening on screen, as the camera angles were so erratic.

Even though I have seen the stage show many times, I have no wish to buy the DVD when it is released, as the film was, to put in generously, nothing other than a disastrous amateurish production and probably the worst ever transformation of stage musical to screen. Doubtless, the crew, cast, distributors, financers and ABBA are not bothered. They still got their "Money, Money, Money" and are laughing all the way to the bank.
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I had low expectations and was disappointed...
jcvamp21 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I couldn't watch all the film, but this is my understanding of the story line. The character played by Meryl Streep was a slut who slept with three guys. Her daughter doesn't seem bothered by this and starts singing about it as though it's romantic. She decided to write to all three men, inviting them to her wedding, so that she could find out which one is her father.

Every situation is summed up with badly sung and choreographed ABBA songs presented in a style that's corny even for musicals. The film couldn't even have been salvaged by using people who could actually sing. The female characters also have the habit of greeting each other in the most embarrassing way possible.

I watched the film because my girlfriend likes it, but I had to stop watching because cringing was hurting my head. I had low expectations of the film, but I was willing to give it a go, and I was actually disappointed. It has actually ruined some ABBA songs that I previously liked.

The acting was terrible, the singing even worse, the choreography nonexistent, and the songs seemed to be placed at random.
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A Pretty Missfire
A.W Richmond8 July 2008
Relentless like one of those loud action movies. The entire cast seems to be on speed. I didn't quite get the director's intentions if any. I wonder if she's ever seen a Stanley Donen, Vincent Minnelli or even a George Sidney musical. Structure, please! This is one hell of a mess and I loved Abba. The costumes the unflattering photography - unflattering towards the actors but loving towards the locations) The one thing that makes the whole thing bearable is the sight of Meryl Streep making a fool of herself. No chemistry with her friends (Christine Baranski and Julie Walters) think of Streep with Lily Tomlyn in the Altman film and you'll understand what I was hoping for. I was embarrassed in particular by Pierce Brosnam and Colin Firth. The audience, however, seemed to enjoy it so it probably it's just me.
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I'm Coming Out ... the year's guiltiest pleasure.
Martin Bradley17 July 2008
I have a confession to make that could land me in serious trouble here. I love this movie with a love bordering on the unnatural. Of course, I hear you saying, that can only mean one thing; you're a gay man of a certain age and if you haven't come out of the closet already. you're coming out now, and wearing sequins at the same time. No straight man, I hear you say, could love this movie with this kind of unbridled passion, so if you have aspirations to being a 100% red-blooded heterosexual male, (is there such a thing?), then keep any fondness for "Mama Mia" to yourself; you will automatically be suspect. Of course, I could just as easily be a teenage girl, (it's a chick flick, after all), and be in equally serious difficulties with my peers, for loving "Mama Mia" would then mean I had already turned into my mother, for this is a chick flick for the older chick and no mistake.

I had avoided it on stage. I have never been a fan of 'juke-box' musicals where a plot is conjured up around a set of songs by a well-known group or artist. And my undiminished love of Abba, (there, I'm out of the closet - happy now?), made me shy away from, rather than run to, a show where their greatest hits were sung, karaoke-style, by others. But something drew me to the movie. Perhaps it was Meryl, (if Meryl liked it, it can't be that bad, I kept saying to myself). Perhaps it was the locations, (it all takes place on a very travelogue Greek isle). Perhaps, ultimately, it was the songs, (who isn't a dancing queen, after all). Nevertheless, going to "Mama Mia", the movie, was still like dipping my toe in the water before deciding if I wanted to do a full length of the pool. The last thing I expected was to fall head over heels, to turn into a blubbering mess, to turn into the oldest dancing queen on the block and into my mother all at the same time. "Mama Mia" is a guilty pleasure, (no self-respecting cineaste should ever admit to even liking this movie, never mind loving it), but as guilty pleasures go, this is the best junk meal you are ever likely to have.

It's director, Phyllida Law, did it on the stage so at least she is familiar with the material, but she is new to movies and after the mess Susan Stroman made of "The Producers" I didn't really expect anything, but while "The Producers" was stagey,(and not in an appealing way), "Mama Mia" is genuinely cinematic. Lloyd's idea of film-making may be to let her camera roam all over the place, (she seems to have an MTV mentality), but she also knows how to build a production number. This is a fully-fledged musical of the old school. And now I am beginning to see the light. It's OK, guys, you can admit to liking "Mama Mia" without worrying too much about revealing your sexuality. Straight men are allowed to like musicals, too, aren't they? Then, of course, there are those songs, the ones we grew up loving. I read somewhere that Abba didn't write great songs because no-one covered them, unlike, say, Lennon and McCartney; that what made Abba's songs 'great' was the Abba sound. There may be something in that; the 'Abba sound' produced some of the greatest pop ever. Arguably, the songs that Abba, (and by Abba, I mean Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson), wrote and recorded are the greatest pop songs we've been given. So how do they work coming from the mouths of people who, effectively, aren't singers? (Ok, Meryl, we all know you can sing and act and probably split the atom at the same time, and the girl who plays her daughter, Amanda Seyfried, sounds very pleasant to the ear). Well, the answer is bloody marvelous. Most of these songs sound as if they were written for the film and not the other way round; in other words, they fit the plot in the way that songs in a good musical should and they are good enough to stand on their own.

These are Broadway show-tunes and they aren't wholly reliant on 'the Abba sound'. So what if Julie Walters and Stellan Skarsgard croak their way through 'Take a Chance on Me'; by the time they get around to it I would have taken a chance on anyone. So Pierce Brosnan can't sing? Neither can Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen and yet we love them to bits. (Actually, Brosnan can just about manage to hold a tune and he makes a fairer fist of it than Lee Marvin or Clint Eastwood did in "Paint your Wagon"). And Meryl, of course, is wonderful. Our greatest living actress is having fun here. This is her first fully-fledged musical: I just wondered what took her so long, (her rendition of 'The Winner takes it All' is one of the great solo performances in any musical).

But does any of this justify my over-whelming and totally inexplicable passion? Probably not, which is why it is inexplicable. It's not a 'great' movie, (although it could just be a 'great' musical); it often feels like a bunch of friends' best ever holiday video where they keep bursting into song with fully orchestrated backing, and it gives a totally new meaning to the term 'Greek Chorous'. So, obviously I am a middle-aged gay man with a full wardrobe of seventies gear. (I certainly haven't turned into my mother!). I mean, what other explanation can there be? Oh, I've just thought of one. It is a great movie musical and it's a terrific way to spend an evening. So I can now safely go back into my closet if I can find room among all the sequins and seventies gear.
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Mamma Mia is trivial, superficial and left me numb.
the-ratts24 October 2008
I cannot remember a more trivial, mind numbing and shallow film in other words a real chick flick of the worst kind. How can anyone watch this film and recommend it to others ? Only if they don't like admitting they made a mistake. It seems to summarise the worst of female aspirations. No real substance to it all happy and shallow. Yeah that'll please the masses. Well not this member of the masses. What a trivial load of drivel. I wanted to leave the cinema within 5 minutes of the start. And to think I paid £7 to see this ! I think this does however represent the dumbing down of cinema as with most media these days. So I like a bit of reality in my musicals call me sad or what ?
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The cinematic equivalent of water boarding
RocketB5224 July 2008
Everyone knows the so-called plot, so let me cut to the chase.

Forced frivolity. Miscast performers working hard to have fun so you can have fun. The brilliant Meryl Streep gives it a great try. Pierce Brosnan just plain embarrassing. Inexplicably set on a Greek Island. Lots of squealing, shrieking women. Lots.

It was a silly juke box musical on stage, now it's a big, splashy, poorly shot screen juke box musical. If you like ABBA, so-so. If not, an assault on the senses and an insult to whatever intelligence you're left with when you exit the theater. I readily admit that I didn't really want to see this movie and went with some friends who did, but for the love of God. Why does my gender shriek and squeal to convey delight? Ever sit next to a table of women who have had too much to drink and are absolutely determined to have GREAT night out on the town? That's the feeling of this whole project. It just felt so good when it stopped.
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Mamma Mia...we need some real singers
beetlejuice198725 July 2008
I love Abba music. I have to start off by saying that. I truly do love it. And maybe that's why I was disappointed with the new film Mamma Mia, because I just love the music too much. I just truly felt that Meryl Streep and especially Pierce Brosnan butchered the music. I'm sure they both were convinced by their agents how amazing this movie would be.."Look you've never done something like this before, it would be so brave of you. I know you can't sing but we'll get you lessons. Take a chance on'll be great". But it seems so gratuitous that they did this movie. We need actors who can actually sing (Ewan McGregor, Catherine Zeta Jones, Renee Zellwiger, Jamie Foxx, even Nicole Kidman faired MUCH better at their attempts.) The truth is I think Meryl is a great actress....just not a great singer. And my AWFUL was Pierce Brosnan's singing. It was truly painful and I was literally embarrassed for him. Shame on him for thinking he could do this role. His ego must be out of control to think he could pull it off...because he truly didn't. The only one out of the whole cast who could carry a tune was the charming and beautiful Amanda Seyfried. Now that's a girl that can act AND sing. I was just really disappointed by the film. The scenery was spectacular but the film wasn't. Too bad. I'm sad.
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Mamma Mia....
bandgeek8118820 July 2008
After sitting through this film, I have decided that it is one of the WORST movies I have ever seen. I knew it the moment I was subjected to three teenage girls screaming and overacting when they (OMG!) meet again, and then watching the same thing, only done by women old enough to be my mom. And that was only the first few minutes. Yeesh. So here are my comments...

1. Middle aged women + ridiculous dance moves complete with hip thrusts and over the top costumes = not a good idea.

2. Pierce Brosnan could not sing his way out of a paper bag. Nor could practically anyone else in this pile of excrement, for that matter.

3. The songs were so random. It was obvious to me that they were thrown, willy nilly, into the incredibly contrived and STUPID plot.

4. My three year old nephew could have written a better script.

I was either cringing or laughing derisively during the movie. And I normally really like movie musicals. Of course they are bound to be a bit corny...but this was ridiculous. What a waste of talent. I mean, you have great actors and actresses in this movie...I am embarrassed for them that this is now a part of their career. I regret wasting my money and time on this piece of crap.
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Utterly dreadful
andy-186619 July 2008
Let's get one thing out of the way first: I used to really like ABBA's music, some of the songs are recognised classics of pop and their place in pop history is assured, but this film (and the stage 'musical' by association) has savaged that legacy. This movie is so contrived, ridiculous, awfully plotted and embarrassing, it should never have seen the light of day; it makes Alvin and the Chipmunks look like high art.

I love genuine musicals, especially Sondheim, so to call this throwing-together of a few pop songs a musical is derogatory IMHO. Sweeney Todd showed what can be done when bringing a real musical to the screen and having big name actors (who you didn't think could sing) take the lead roles. I was embarrassed for the actors, I was angry that Benny and Bjorn every got involved with the whole project and felt cheated out of my entrance money.

This trend for turning pop/ rock group songs into musicals has to be stopped. Now! Please, please, let's not have a Queen or Take That musical film. Have pity on us.
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