Here We Go Again with ABBA | Sunday Observer

Here We Go Again with ABBA

From left : Ilma Marrikar, Iffeth Mansoor, President Farida Alibhoy, Lankani Hettigoda, Tasneem Mutaher, Diyamanti Gunaratne,  Ratan Abdulhusein, Maryam Marrikar and Farida Lukmanjee
From left : Ilma Marrikar, Iffeth Mansoor, President Farida Alibhoy, Lankani Hettigoda, Tasneem Mutaher, Diyamanti Gunaratne, Ratan Abdulhusein, Maryam Marrikar and Farida Lukmanjee

The Zonta Club III of Colombo hosted a special screening of the eagerly awaited blockbuster film of the year - Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again recently at the Liberty Cinema by Scope.

It feels like yesterday that I watched Mamma Mia on the big screen, but it has been 10 years. Immediately after Mamma Mia, based on ABBA’s 1970s perennial hit there was talk of a sequel or even a prequel. After all, Hollywood never lets a good hit go away without a sequel. However, all the actors and production executives had other movies to work on, so a Mamma Mia sequel never really happened fast. Mamma Mia did live on in the hearts of millions of fans worldwide and of course, on DVD – I ordered the DVD as soon as it was released and watched it many times, until the disc probably ended up inside another case in my labyrinthine DVD and Blu Ray collection. I must find it one of these days.

But now, we have an unexpected bonus after 10 long years of waiting. “Here We Go Again” is the catchy title of the second Mamma Mia film, which is both a prequel and a sequel. Now on general release in Colombo and cities worldwide, Here We Go Again is all set to repeat the success of the first outing and it may even exceed the box office earnings of that movie.

The story in a nutshell: In 1979 young Donna, Tanya and Rosie graduate from Oxford University -- leaving Donna free to embark on a series of adventures throughout Europe. On her journeys, she makes the acquaintances of Harry, Bill and Sam -- the latter whom she falls in love with, but he’s also the man who breaks her heart. If you want to know more, you have to watch both movies.

Almost the entire cast has been reunited for the second movie, with the caveat that the inimitable Meryl Streep makes only a brief appearance in her role as Amanda Seyfried’s (Sophie) mother. But she is everywhere in the movie in spirit, if not in person, because Here We Go Again is really her origin story. The younger Donna, Meryl Streep’s character, is portrayed marvelously by an ebullient Lily James (of Downton Abbey fame). All other usual suspects including former James Bond Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Sweden’s very own Stellan Skarsgard (Amanda’s three “dads”) and Donna’s friends Julie Walters and Christine Baranski return, joined by newcomers led by Cher (as Amanda’s grandma Ruby), Andy Garcia (as hotel manager Fernando) and Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner and Josh Dylan as the younger versions of Donna’s love interests. I almost forgot Dominic Cooper as Sky, Amanda’s love interest in the first movie, whose rendition of “lay all your love on me” was a highlight of the first movie.

Even of you have not seen the film already, you already have a clue about at least one song – Mamma Mia. It makes a comeback, because it is the title after all. The other comeback song that makes an even bigger impact this time is Dancing Queen, this time set on the high seas as well as on the ground at Donna’s idyllic Greek island.

It turns out that Andy Garcia’s Fernando is Cher’s Ruby’s love interest – cue a masterful rendition of the ABBA super hit Fernando by Cher, a top professional performer, along with Garcia. By now you know that all the songs are performed by the actors themselves due to copyright issues preventing the use of actual ABBA songs in the movie, despite two ABBA members being executive producers. However, they do a mostly good job and this time around, the background music for all the numbers is really an improvement over the first movie. Yes, you almost feel like getting up from your seat and dancing. The movie’s sound design is really good, making full use of surround speakers, but I wonder how much better it will sound in a theatre equipped with Dolby Atmos or DTS X, which are immersive sound dispersion technologies. (The Blu-Ray of Here We Go Again will most probably offer the latter mix).

Among the other 18 songs that get playtime during the two-hour runtime are: When I kissed the teacher, Waterloo, Why did it have to be me, I have a dream, Andante Andante, The Name of the Game, Knowing Me Knowing You, Angel Eyes, I have been waiting for you, My Love my Life (the only in-movie song that Meryl Streep appears in) and of course, Super Trouper, the only song where the old and new characters sing together. (That number was also in the first movie). Some of the tracks are rarely heard, so this is your chance to brush up on your ABBA and send your ears to aural heaven.

The movie has been expertly and seamlessly edited, weaving in and out of the past and the present with uncanny ease. The photography is excellent (again, better than on the original), capturing the scenic beauty of a Greek island – this is a great gift for the Greek Tourist Board. The choreograpgy of group dances is very good – this is the nearest to Bollywood that Hollywood can get.

Since this is not a 100 percent musical (such as Les Miserables or Evita), there is a fair amount of conversation and banter. It is clear that the ravages of time has not been very kind of some actors, whose real age shows. However, this is a film that depends mostly on music and heart, not good looks. Sure, there are beautiful people and beautiful places in the movie, but more importantly, it delivers a message to and from the heart.

Could there be a third Mamma Mia film? Critics and audiences think so, given ABBA’s vast repertoire. ABBA will also be releasing two new tracks in December, which can also be included in a future film. Until then, many fans will re-live Here We Go Again on DVD and Blu Ray. In the words of ABBA themselves, Here We Go Again is a Winner that Takes It All. Thank You for the Music, ABBA.

The Zonta Club III of Colombo hosted a special screening of the eagerly awaited blockbuster film of the year - Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again recently at the Liberty Cinema by Scope.

Through this fundraiser, Zonta managed to raise the funds towards sponsoring the sewing course and materials for the Zonta Empowers Women (ZEW) Sewing project, which provides training to needy women in drought, flood affected and war torn areas of our country.

As a follow-up to the training, they also plan to provide them with a means to exhibit and sell their products in Colombo

Zonta Club III of Colombo has successfully conducted this programme in communities as far away as Madupura, Narinadu and Welioya in the northern province. The proceeds from this show will be used for the programme in the village of Bogaswewa and adjoining villages

Many corporates and individuals supported Zonta Club III by patronising the event. 

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