Needless to say the $52 budgeted adaptation of the Broadway hit Mamma Mia! was more than successful. The film grossed nearly triple its budget in the states alone and worldwide grossed more than half a billion dollars. For a musical this is unprecedented and unheard of, especially considering the film was sharing theater space with the dominating The Dark Knight at its time of release. Although critical reviews of it were mixed, the reception the film received by those who saw it was extraordinary.
Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) 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 Pierce 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.
Realistically speaking I’m probably the last person who should review a musical that is a “celebration of mothers, daughters and fathers,” considering I am none of those, but here I sit at a keyboard typing a review anyway. The most I’d heard about this film was from the trailers I’d seen or what those around me said about it (quite a few family members loved the film), so I didn’t really go into the film thinking I’d be…well, bored by it, but I figured there’d be more redeeming about it than what I eventually got out of it.
It’s not even that I’m adverse to musicals, I liked some of Moulin Rouge and greatly enjoyed Sweeney Todd (although that’s a whole other type of musical altogether, I suppose), but with Mamma Mia! I just found the overly sappy songs (of which there are twenty-two) a bit…well, I have no other way of describing it other than “girly.” That’s expected, right? I mean this show is predominantly made up of women so I don’t think I’m going to offend anyone by saying that, but I can’t say I connected or related with any of the characters here on any emotional level, so that reason alone it wasn’t a very engaging movie for me.
I do admit some of the songs were catchy; the title song itself remained an exciting piece in the film despite it getting played in everyone of the films trailers and the performance by Pierce Brosnan was quite entertaining, although I’m not sure if it’s just the shock of hearing James Bond sing or what. Sadly his pieces in the film were few so we didn’t get to hear him belt out any long numbers, but he was entertaining at the very least. Of course the beautiful scenery only aided in making the film visually appealing, so even if the songs got to be a bit tedious for me, then I still had some nice visuals to gaze upon.
You definitely have to fit in a type of audience to enjoy this film and I simply didn’t fit into any of the categories of individuals who might enjoy this film to its fullest. I can see what people love about it, the songs are well done and choreographed beautifully, but it’s all lost on me simply because I’ve no desire to listen to a multitude of people sing twenty two songs in the span of an hour and forty nine minutes. Obviously if you have any desire to see the film you’ll undoubtedly enjoy it way more than I did, but if you’re being dragged to see it against your will, then I doubt you’ll get too much from it.
Overall I’m certainly not one to accurately or adequately judge this one, but for those who love musicals it definitely comes Recommended. Everyone else…just Rent It and see how it goes from there.
Mamma Mia! The Movie arrives on Blu-ray in a standard two-disc Elite Blu case (the second disc is the digital copy) and inside are inserts for the digital copy code and a user guide for the Blu-ray. Outside is a reflective foil embossed slipcover and the menus for the release follow the standard Universal blade layout.
The video for this release comes in a VC-1 encoded 2.40:1 1080p video transfer that looks simply stunning. The aforementioned scenery really comes to life in this transfer and there isn’t a sequence that isn’t breathtaking. The nighttime sequences (and goat house bits where there’s little light) are appropriately dark and the lightning that accompanies them looks brilliant. Sea sequences look amazing as well, with water that’s so life like you feel like you could jump in it yourself. Overall this is a fantastic looking film.
But this is a musical, so it’s important that it sounds good. No worries on that front, the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix brings to life each of the twenty-two songs with fantastic clarity and detail. Surrounds are used to their fullest extent as the crowds around the main cast join in on the songs and the appropriate amount of bass is included during the more active pieces (and when the ground breaks and water shoots forth). Also included are Spanish and French DTS 5.1 tracks and English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Moving onto the extras we have a solid amount to play with. The first up on the Blu-ray front is a series of BD-Live extras such as My Movie Commentary and My Chat, as well as a Behind The Hits pop-up trivia that gives you a ton of information on the ABBA songs and the albums they’re from. Also included is a picture-in-picture piece that allows you to view cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage as you watch the movie.
The high-definition extras start out with a Feature Commentary with Director Phyllida Lloyd and a Deleted Musical Number: “The Name of the Game” (3:02). A The Making Of (24:07) and Anatomy of a Musical Number: “Lay All Your Love on Me” (5:42) detail the process of the film as well as a specific number, while Becoming a Singer (10:55) focuses on the actors training and A Look Inside Mamma Mia (2:41) is a quick glimpse into the making of the film (seems kind of superfluous after the Making Of, but whatever).
Moving onto the rest of the extras, all in standard definition from this point, we have a Sing-Along for the film, a round of Deleted Scenes (8:06) and Outtakes (1:34), as well as “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” Music Video (3:50) performed by Seyfried. Finally we have a quick look at the Bjorn Ulvaeus Cameo (1:36). Strangely enough the On Location in Greece featurette from the two-disc DVD release isn’t included, but I guess the picture-in-picture extras make up for it.
Overall this is pretty stacked release for a musical release and one that I’m sure will keep fans in front of their sets for awhile. The actual run time of the extras is a bit weak, but between the on-screen goodies and the feature length commentary, there’s still enough to thrill fans of the film. Recommended.
Mamma Mia! The Movie arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on December 16th.