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I skipped two movies in my July wrap-ups. It's not so much that they deserve extra attention, they just needed to be kept together.
Mom wanted to see the sequel in theaters, so I watched the original in preparation. I like musicals, and I like ABBA. (It's got a beat and you can dance to it.) Unfortunately, both of these films had flaws that I can't easily forgive.
Mamma Mia! is clearly a corny, nostalgic stage musical adapted for the screen. Its characters exist just to bridge the gaps between songs. Therefore, I can't get too mad at Pierce Brosnan for his ill-advised decision to take a singing role or Amanda Seyfried's bridezilla for the way she selfishly tramples on everyone else's life then runs away. I was more dissatisfied that "Waterloo" is included in the end credits as a mere afterthought.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, however, is first and foremost a movie musical. It bends over backwards to put on a show with fancy dance staging and camera tricks. It almost works, too. The "Dancing Queen" number is a showstopper. I mean that literally. I should have walked out of the theater right then, before Meryl Streep's (bittersweet) and Cher's (unearned) cameos crashed the party and killed the mood as the movie limped to the finish line.
Also, how is it that Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again takes place in 1979 yet fails to include any footage of ABBA in their heyday? Does ABBA not exist in the Mamma Mia! universe? Opportunity missed!
I hope all these problems are addressed when the inevitable third entry in the trilogy (Mamma Mia! Does It Show Again?) hits theaters in 2028.