Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mamma Mia!

Friday was the day. I finally got to see Mamma Mia! For years I have wanted to see the stage version. Who doesn't love ABBA? And the songs always remind me of my childhood in the '70s. I'm not really a big fan of the modern musical (Howard Keel and Jane Powell were stars of the last musicals I enjoyed), but centered around ABBA songs - it just had to be good.

The story is fairly basic - a 20 year old woman is ready to marry on her Greek Island home. Her mom, Donna, (Meryl Streep) has never revealed her father. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) finds Donna's diary and realizes there were three distinct possibilities. Unknown to her mother, Sophie invites all three men (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard) to her wedding, hoping the truth will be revealed.

I believe I have not been a big fan of the modern musical because they take themselves so seriously. They are trying to come off like a serious and artistic movie with songs written to tell an exact and specific story. Dance steps are choreographed to the hilt, and it is just way overdone. Shouldn't a musical just be fun? Shouldn't the songs just be catchy ones to sing instead of melodramatic or greatly verbose ones? The songs here are obviously some of the best from pop culture history. One who have to be a dead piece of wood not to sing along (and I certainly did - admittedly, not very loudly). The setting was perfect. The Meditteranean and the Greek island were a visual feast. I was transported back to the couple days I had on Crete almost ten years ago. And then the movie did something really right - it casted stars who are true actors and can sing okay (not great, but good enough). Having really gifted actors makes all the difference in the world. Streep could not have been any cuter or appealing - it makes me feel better about heading into my middle age years. Brosnan and Firth - can't even say any more than that. And Julie Walters and Christine Baranski are always magnificent. I had only seen Seyfriend in Mean Girls. She has a sparkling voice that was perfect for this young, hopeful woman with such a generous heart.
Some of the most fun I've had in a while. And after the gore and angst of some recent movies, everyone needs some fun. Life should have some fun, some gifted and good looking middle-aged actors, and always some ABBA. My grade - A

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