Food Editor Laila Freeman reviews Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again, the much awaited sequel to the much adored musical, Mamma Mia (2008).
Ten years ago, Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep), her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), Sophie’s three potential fathers and the picturesque Greek island of Kalokairi graced our screens for the first time, reviving many of ABBA’s greatest hits by interjecting them into a feel good story of family, friendship and romance.
So, when Universal announced earlier this year that a sequel was in the works, fans all over the world awaited the chance to return to the sunny setting - full of excitement and hope - that had captured our hearts a decade ago.
Mamma Mia 2 was far from a feel good.
This is not at all to say that the second instalment of Mamma Mia was not good. The film was beautiful and full of poignant moments, particularly during Sophie’s storyline. Whilst it didn’t deliver the anticipated feel good factor of the first film, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again crafted a much more sentimental and emotional film.
As seen in the trailer, Sophie reveals that she is pregnant and this provides a pivotal point in the film, shifting the focus away from young Donna (Lily James) and her carefree adventure towards the connection between Sophie and her baby. Not one person left the cinema with dry eyes, with a soon-to-be iconic christening scene as the emotional climax of the film.
Both Mamma Mia films are clearly family centred, with the premise of the first film being Sophie’s attempt to discover who her father is. In the end Sophie decides not to find out which of the men is her father and she has stayed true to this decision into the second film.
Instead, it seems that what this film truly stresses is the importance and everlasting nature of a mother’s love. When Sophie discovers she is pregnant she says that she has never felt so close to her mother and when talking of her mother’s pregnancy, she says that she knows that Donna was not scared, because she had her.
Besides the more sombre premise of the second movie, Mamma Mia 2 did, indeed, continue some of the fun scenes that made Mamma Mia such a well-loved film. Young Donna’s storyline is packed with the romance and youthfulness that we saw in Sophie and Sky in the first film and these scenes introduced cheery songs that had not made it into the first film.
In addition, whilst some of the songs in Mamma Mia 2 are not as well known as the chart toppers of the previous film, many reflected the more poignant aspects of this new plot, and complimented the more emotional scenes perfectly.
And, of course, many of the old ABBA favourites did return, with Lily James performing her own take on Mamma Mia, Sophie (Seyfried) leading a fun reprisal of Dancing Queen and a finale that saw the whole cast - including young and old versions of the same character - join together to perform Super Trouper.
Whilst the film may have a different tone to the first, the much loved music and characters created a film as captivating as its predecessor.
Unfortunately, Mamma Mia 2 had one downfall and that was the discrepancies that it demonstrated between itself and the earlier film. In isolation, the story presented in this film may have flown seamlessly, but fans have been quick to point out multiple contradictions between the two movies. These include more minor details, including the fact that young Harry still has the guitar that Donna somehow ends up with in the first film, and much more glaring errors, such as that Donna’s mum, who appears in the second film, was indicated to have been dead.
Overall, if you can look past the discrepancies between the two films, Mamma Mia 2 provides a lovely and much awaited return to the island of Kalokairi and - despite the onslaught of tears throughout - the hopeful and happy ending was exactly what one would expect from a Mamma Mia film.
And for those of you yet to see it, do yourself a favour and bring a packet of tissues.
Featured image: Twitter / @mammamiamovie