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Mamma Mia! The Movie (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 22, 2010 by  



If you enjoyed the music of ABBA and want to have an enjoyable time with a vibrant, enjoyable movie musical, look no further as “Mamma Mia! The Movie” is delightful on Blu-ray.

Images courtesy of © 2008 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Mamma Mia! The Movie

DURATION: 1 Hr., 49 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English, 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Espanol and Francais DTS 5.1, Subtitles: English SDH, Espanol, Francais

COMPANY: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Some Sex-Related Comments)

RELEASE DATE: December 16, 2008

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd

Screenplay and musical book by Catherine Johnson

Executive Producer: Benny Anderson, Tom Hanks, Mark Huffam, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Rita Wilson

Producer: Judy Craymer, Gary Goetzman

Music by Benny Anderson

Cinematography by Haris Zambarloukos

Edited by Lesley walker

Casting by Priscilla John, Ellen Lewis

Production Design by Maria Djurkovic

Art Direction by Dean Clegg, Rebecca Holmes, Nick Palmer

Set Decoration by Barbara Herman- Skelding

Costume Design by Ann Roth

Starring:

Amanda Seyfried as Sophie

Stellan Skarsgard as Bill

Meryl Streep as Donna Sheridan

Pierce Brosnan as Sam

Colin Firth as Harry

Rachel McDowall as Lisa

Ashley Lilley as Ali

Julie Walters as Rosie

Christine Baranski as Tanya

Dominic Cooper as Sky

Sophie has just one wish to make her wedding perfect: to have her father walk her down the aisle.  Now she just has to find out who he is.  Join the music, laughter and fun of the irresistibly charming Mamma Mia! The Movie.  Academy Award winner Meryl Streep leads an all-star cast, including Pierece Brosnan and Colin Firth -as well as up-and-comers Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper, in this musical celebration of mothers, daughters and fathers, and true loves lost and new ones found.  Based on the Broadway smash-hit and filled with the Abba songs you know and love, it’s the feel-good experience that will have you singing and dancing over and over again!

Trailer

“Mamma Mia! The Movie”, the film adaptation from the jukebox musical by British playwright Catherine Johnson and featuring the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus (both the male members of the group).  In 1999, the musical has brought in over $2.0 billion in earnings (becoming the highest grossing musical of all time)and what better than to have a film adaptation a decade later.

With Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson producing the film, “Mamma Mia! The Movie” would be directed by British director Phyllida Lloyd and a screenplay by Catherine Johnson.  The film adaptation would feature an all-star cast starring Meryl Streep (“Kramer vs. Kramer”, “Adaptation”, “The Devil Wears Prada”), Pierce Brosnan (James Bond 007 films, “The Thomas Crown Affair”), Colin Firth (“The English Patient”, “Pride and Prejudice”, “Shakespeare in Love”), Stellan Skarsgard (“Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End”, “Beowulf and Grendel”, “Dogville), Julie Walters (Harry Potter films, “Becoming Jane”, “Billy Elliot) and Christine Baranski (“Happy Family”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, “Chicago”) and a film that would jumpstart the careers of Amanda Seyfried (“Mean Girls”, “Veronica Mars”) and Dominic Cooper (“The Duchess”).

The film which cost $52 million would earn over $609 million worldwide in the box office making the film one of the top 50 highest grossing films of all time and the distinction of the highest grossing movie musical in the world.

The film revolves around Sophie Sheridan (played by Amanda Seyfried), a bride-to-be, living on the Greek island of Kalokairi and ready to wed Sky (Dominic Cooper).  As her mother Donna Sheridan (played by Meryl Streep) reunites with her old Donna and the Dynamos bandmates Tanya (played by Christine Baranski) and author Rosie (played by Julie Walters) for her daughter’s wedding, Sophie has one wish that she wants to make true for her wedding and that is for her father to walk her down the aisle.

Problem is…her mother Donna was with three different men at the time.  The headbanging rockster turned banker Harry Bright (played by Colin Firth), the hippie turned adventurer Bill Anderson (played by Stellan Skarsgard) and a man named Sam (played by Pierce Brosnan).   As Sophie has read her mother’s diary and tells her two friends Ali & Lisa that  she invited the three men to her wedding without her mother’s knowledge.

So, when the three men arrive, Sophie tries her best to hide them from her mother.  That is until Donna accidentally finds the three men and all hell breaks loose.

“Mamma Mia! The Movie” showcases the music of ABBA and features all main talent taking part in singing of the songs.  Included are:

1. “I Have A Dream” – Sophie
2. “Honey, Honey” – Sophie, Ali, and Lisa
3. “Money, Money, Money” – Donna, Tanya, Rosie, and Greek Chorus
4. “Mamma Mia” – Donna, Sophie, Ali, Lisa, and Greek Chorus
5. “Chiquitita” – Rosie, Tanya, and Donna
6. “Dancing Queen” – Tanya, Rosie, Donna, Greek Chorus, and Company
7. “Our Last Summer” – Harry, Bill, Sam, Sophie, and Donna
8. “Lay All Your Love on Me” – Sky, Sophie, Sky’s Bachelor party friends.
9. “Super Trouper” – Donna, Tanya, and Rosie
10. “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” – Sophie, Donna, Tanya, Rosie, Ali, Lisa and Greek Chorus
11. “The Name of the Game” – Sophie (deleted scene)
12. “Voulez-Vous ” – Donna, Sam, Tanya, Rosie, Harry, Bill, Sky, Ali, Lisa, and Pepper
13. “SOS” – Sam, Donna, and Greek Chorus
14. “Does Your Mother Know” – Tanya, Pepper, Guys, and Girls
15. “Slipping Through My Fingers” – Donna and Sophie
16. “The Winner Takes It All” – Donna
17. “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” – Sam, Donna, and Company
18. “When All Is Said and Done” – Sam, Donna, and Company
19. “Take a Chance on Me” – Rosie, Bill, Tanya, Pepper, and Harry
20. “Mamma Mia!” (Reprise) – Company
21. “I Have A Dream” (Reprise) – Sophie, Westlife and Company
22. “Dancing Queen” (Reprise) – Donna, Rosie, and Tanya
23. “Waterloo” – Donna, Rosie, Tanya, Sam, Bill, Harry, Sky, and Sophie
24. “Thank You for the Music” – Sophie

VIDEO:

“Mamma Mia! The Movie” is presented in 1080p High-Definition (Widescreen 2:40:1).  “Mama Mia! The Movie” is quite interesting presentation.  For one, the film is shot in Greece and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.  But there is also an artistic element that cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos brought to the film (Director Phyllida Lloyd goes more into wanting a dramatical effect for the film through experimental shooting during day and night).  From scenes overlooking the ocean at night with the beautiful black and blues, to the shots of the wedding as lights are seen going up to the church area.  Absolute beautiful!

But it’s also important to note that Zambarloukos went with colors that are high in contrast at times and colors that may seem a bit oversaturated  at times but for the most part, it added to the vibrancy of the film  and looks incredible on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Mamma Mia! The Movie” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1.  Dialogue is clear and understandable and comes clear from the front and center channels but the film is obviously going to be musically driven and one is not going to hear an aggressive soundtrack.  Music sounds good but not great as the lossless soundtrack is not as immersive as I would have wanted it to be.  I didn’t notice the surround or rear channels being utilized throughout the film.  So, it would have been great if the mix would have incorporated those channels.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Mamma Mia! The Movie” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making of Mamma Mia! – (24:05) Featuring three features on the making of the film: Birthing Mamma Mia!, The Filmmaking and The Cast.
  • Deleted Musical Number – “The Name of the Game” – (2:57) The deleted musical scene featuring Amanda Seyfried and Stellan Skarsgard’s character.
  • Anatomy of a Musical Number – “Lay All Your Love On Me” – (5:42) The making of “Lay All Your Love On Me” and Dominic Cooper who is not a singer talks about his experience recording the song and shooting the scene near the beach.
  • Becoming a Singer – (10:55) Benny Anderson (of ABBA) talks about wanting to bring the musicians together in making the music for the film.  Anderson and Ulvaeus talk about working with the talent and the talents talk about their experience working with the ABBA stars for the film and footage of the recordings of the music at the studio.  The male talent who are not known for singing talk about being worried in recording the music.
  • A Look Inside Mamma Mia! The Movie – (2:39) The cast talk about Abba’s music and a look at the musical and the film adaptation.
  • Sing-Along – While watching “Mamma Mia! The Movie”, you can watch it with a sing-along.
  • Deleted Scenes – (8:06) The deleted scenes from the film.
  • Outtakes – (1:33) The outtakes from the film.
  • “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” Music Video – (3:49) The music video of “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme” sung by Amanda Seyfried.
  • Bjorn Ulvaeus Cameo – (1:35) ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus cameo in the film.
  • Feature Commentary with Director Phyllida Lloyd – Director Phyllida Lloyd talks about working on the film, bringing the musical to film (Lloyd was responsible for directing the stage version), working with the talent, shooting in Greece, experimenting with day and night shooting and creating the dramatical effect of the film and more.

I don’t think I have enjoyed a movie musical like “Mamma Mia! The Movie” since “Grease”.  I absolutely felt that Amanda Seyfried shined throughout this film.  Seyfried is absolutely radiant in this fim and since the theatrical release of “Mamma Mia! The Movie”, I have been quite impressed by her work.  She’s an amazing actress with so much depth and she shows what she is capable of in “Mamma Mia!”, definitely far from what we have seen of her in “Mean Girls” and “Veronica Mars”.

And Meryl Streep, what a brilliant performance.  It’s one thing for Streep to be known as a wonderful award winning actress but somehow there was this synergy that went through the cast and but especially for Meryl Streep, she was electrifying and had so much energy, I was impressed.

The cast was absolutely fun to watch and although some of the talent (specifically the male talent) are not known for singing, I suppose the film brought this naturalness to its characters.

But it all comes down to the music of ABBA, especially if you enjoyed their music in the past.  For me, it was nostalgic as I grew up during the ’70s and my parents were part of those disco years and part of my younger life was at home with plenty of people taking part in these disco parties.   So, the music of ABBA didn’t bother me and in some ways, some songs really got me interested in how the original music sounds compared to the movie musical and songs such as “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” surprised me because I thought the music was first created for Madonna’s 2005 song “Hung Up”.

But there is so many things that came together for this film that I absolutely enjoyed.  The location was absolutely beautiful, the editing that helped enhance the musical numbers were well-done and as mentioned, the talents were just enjoyable to watch.  This was an enjoyable film that didn’t require any seriousness or surrealistic plot, this was a straight-forward fun, vibrant film with an enjoyable cast.

As for the Blu-ray, there are people who enjoy musicals and I know the music of ABBA and disco may be a bit much for some people expecting something along a similar path of movie musicals such as “Moulin Rouge”, “Chicago” or “Nine” but “Mamma Mia! The Movie” is a film about having fun and being in love, and I suppose once can say that ABBA’s music embodies that.  This is a gorgeous movie on Blu-ray and some may feel the film was too oversaturated for their taste but I felt that there was a sense of artistry in terms of cinematography.

Overall, “Mamma Mia! The Movie” is a wonderful musical on Blu-ray and if you are into musicals, especially the music of ABBA and want something more lively and fun, definitely give this Blu-ray release a try!  Recommended!






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