The movie Mamma Mia was on pay per view TV today, and since I’d missed it at the movies I took the opportunity to watch it. Trailers I’d seen made it look fun, and friends had said they’d really enjoyed it. I watched while I worked.
I thought the movie got off to a slightly wobbly start, but it soon reached its stride, and was good fun, and in fact quite clever.
I’m assuming it was set on a fictitious Greek island purely to get away with an extended ‘Greek Chorus’ joke, as well as to allow lots of outdoors singing and dancing scenes.
Some of the cast are extremely well-known actors: Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski and others. They do a pretty fair job with all the singing, but they are obviously not professional singers. On the other hand, they are superb actors.
You might think that is an odd choice for a musical, but their ‘real-world’ roughness in the singing brought a grounding sense of reality to the film. It added a kind of gritty edge that was appropriate for this clearly artificial movie that contrived a plot to fit lyrics and music from ABBA songs.
And the whole thing worked really well. Mamma Mia was cleverly put together, amusing, and jolly good fun.