BWW Weblog: Mamma Mia – The Final Film Musical
Fearless BroadwayWorld.com blogger leader Taylor has done it again with her weekly prompts (they really work!). Favorite film musical? Don’t say anything more
I can’t ignore the “first thing that comes to mind” technique: Mamma Mia. At first I thought it was too easy, everyone saw it, and maybe it’s even a victim of dubbing (by a big one Broadway and film music fan). But here is a timeless picture of me and my sister in front of the OBC marquee in Times Square. There was confetti everywhere (I have no idea why) and it’s a memory I vividly remember. Now the whole internet has this glorious picture of us – it’s worth it for the context of the story.
For those of you who somehow eluded viewing the 2008 classic, a quick recap. Think Greece, think * literally * of sparkling water, think of a rustic European getaway. Then add a dash of parental confusion, some adorable pals, a super cute love interest, a slew of famous actors, and a whole handful of ABBA classics and you have Mamma Mia of your own.
Even if you’re against film music like my roommate, you can’t deny that the Greek island of fictional Kalokairi alone isn’t enough to get you to sit down with popcorn or rather come on stage on your next flight to Athens. To relieve your travel itch (if it’s safe, of course), there are even tours of Skopelos Island, where the original film was shot.
A perfect film musical
What wouldn’t I give to be in the room where Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus woven a heartwarming story with 18 classic ABBA songs to create such a summery cinematic perfection? While I’m usually impartial to films that were originally on the stage, the Mamma Mia film more than does the 2001 jukebox musical justice.
A cast for the ages
Every time I see one of the Mamma Mia actors in another movie, I hear an excited squeak that goes, “Oh! Oh oh! You’re in Mamma Mia!” Take, for example, my rapid-fire texts on my on-demand Marvel friend when Dominic Cooper showed up as a young Howard Stark in the first Captain America – I was there. And when I finally got around to watching all the pirates from the Caribbean, Stellan Skarsgård was there as bootstrap Bill Turner (although I had a hard time seeing him as Bill Anderson). Don’t get me started with Meryl Streep and Christine Baranski in Into the Woods and Colin Firth in Love? That is all that needs to be said.
Grab your best friends
While Amanda, Ali, and Lisa’s adorable handshake in the form of a song at the beginning of the film just happen to get stuck in my head from time to time, there is nothing like the Trio Donna and the Dynamos. This feel-good friendship between Donna, Tanya, and Rosie only makes me squeeze my best friends a little closer together and most importantly, hope we’re chic enough to take off go-go boots when we wander around a Greek island in our fifties (I can’t decide if I’m Donna or Tanya …).
Maybe I’m biased for singing “Honey, Honey” as a prelude to a musical and totally nailed it, but probably not. In my experience, Mamma Mia is one of those films that provokes a harsh reaction to those who say they have never seen it (if you are, I am not going to reprimand you personally, but I suggest you keep doing it , right now). Even if we can’t get on a plane to Greece at this second, the story, love and music have to be enough. BRB as I look at it in three digits.
(Dear Hairspray, Into the Woods, Fett, an American in Paris, RENT, La La Land, Newsies … um. They were all in seconds.)