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Mamma Mia! - John C. Kirk

Aug. 31st, 2008

08:56 pm - Mamma Mia!

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I've just been watching Mamma Mia! at the cinema, which I enjoyed. It's been out for a couple of months, and I wouldn't expect 5pm on a Sunday to be peak viewing time, but there was a surprisingly large audience; I'd say that the room was about half-full. It also skewed a bit older than the average film, and this was reflected in the trailers (e.g. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas rather than Step Brothers).

As for the film itself, it's fun. It's not exactly a deep story which offers insights into the human condition, but it's cheerful and energetic. Although the songs weren't written for the film, they actually fit into the story surprisingly well; it's also nice to see that the classical traditions of the Greek chorus are alive and well. There are some funny bits which made me laugh: I think that dancing in flippers is an underrated skill. The cast do a good job; Pierce Brosnan isn't the world's greatest singer, but he seemed to get better as the film went along.

Don't dash off (or stop the DVD) when the credits start, because there are some fun performances to watch. There's also a new disclaimer at the end, in the style of "no animals were harmed during the production of this film". This one said something like "The tobacco consumption in this film was strictly for artistic purposes, and is not a recommendation to smoke; smoking can be bad for your health, and those around you." In fairness, I'd say that it was important to the plot here (tying in with a particular song lyric).

I think the film also acts as a good advert for Greek tourism; I went there on holiday when I was 8, but now I'd like to visit again, although I'd avoid places like Faliraki.

Some of the songs fade into the background, and one of those is "Gimme Gimme Gimme". However, there's also a separate music video of that (using various clips from the film): it's been played a lot on the music channels, and you can watch it on YouTube. I also heard a filk version of this song about 10 years ago, performed by Phoenix. It's surprisingly easy to rework the lyrics for Babylon 5:
"Gimme gimme gimme a Ranger at midnight,
Won't somebody help me chase these Shadows away?"

As a vaguely related issue, this comic strip is quite fun (regarding "Dancing Queen"):