Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
So how do you make a sequel to a box office smash when you kill off the most popular character? You go straight-up GODFATHER: PART II. Taking a queue from arguably the greatest sequel ever made, MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN somehow manages to entertain just as much, if not more so, as the original. The songs are just as good, the performances are solid and the movie flows better, with a more natural insertion of some more of your favorite songs.
The movie is told with two intertwining storylines set in different timelines. The first follows everyone from the first film, but focuses on Sophie’s (Seyfried) effort to launch a grand re-opening of her mother’s hotel. We’re told early on that Donna (Streep) has passed away and now Sophie has taken on the burden of the hotel with her boyfriend Sky (Dominic Cooper) and her three dads. But Sky is off in New York taking some hotel management classes and two of her three dads are off doing other things. Thankfully, Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski) are there to keep her company and help her sing her way through the stress. The other timeline is set in 1979 and features a young Donna (James) as she lives through all of the things the older Donna talked about in the first movie. We meet younger versions of her three lovers and see her find the Greek island where she sets up shop to have Sophie and open the hotel.
I imagine most audiences might question what songs were used in the sequel since most of the recognizable songs were sung in the first one. Although there are a couple of repeats, most of the music is different and rounds out the leftover songs from the Abba Gold album. After watching the original MAMMA MIA!, I put that album on repeat and was introduced to several songs I had never heard before. If most audiences did what I did, then they’ll be pleased to hear some of those great songs feature prominently this time around.
The pressure of the sequel fell on the surprisingly capable shoulders of Lily James. James has proven herself to be a fine actress, but she really shines in the role of Donna, capturing the spirit Meryl Streep showed in the original. She was fun, relatable and likeable all at once. It didn’t hurt that she can really sing, giving justice to every song she belted out. Other newcomers to the cast made less of an impact, although it was nice they hired actors that could sing to play the young versions of Harry, Bill and Sam. I like Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard as much as the next critic, but they can’t sing. Thankfully, director Ol Parker recognized this and none of them get their own musical number and instead, left the singing to the younger versions of their characters.
I was as surprised as everyone when I found myself really liking MAMMA MIA!, but I didn’t think there was any way I’d enjoy a sequel, especially one without Meryl Streep. But after watching the sequel, I came to the realization that the film might have been better off without Streep. I know that sounds like blasphemy, but as great as she is, Streep had moments in the original where she really overacted, almost to a distracting effect. Couple that with a lighter weight to the sequel that flows more efficiently and you have a highly entertaining musical.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN looks fantastic on 4K. The Greek settings and the brightness of the film seem tailor made for the format as every color just jumps off the screen. Skin textures are perfect, settings are rich and detailed and it feels like you can see hundreds of different shades of orange and yellow every time the sun glistens off a building or water. During the bigger musical numbers, especially the one on the ocean as people are coming in for the grand opening, the screen features an abundance of colorful shots that come through nicely. This is a great looking 4K and might be the perfect way to sell the new format to anyone that’s still on the fence.
Audio: The 4K contains the same Dolby Atmos track from the Blu-ray and it’s incredible.
This title was reviewed using a Sony UBP-X700 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no 4K exclusive special features, but it does carry over the special features from the Blu-ray:
Commentary with Ol Parker: Parker gives a nice commentary and since he also wrote the film, he covers just about everything you could want to know about the film. He talks about the inspiration for the story, working with the great cast and why he made some of the directing decisions he did.
Commentary with Judy Craymer: Producer Judy Craymer also gives a nice commentary, but sticks more to the story and the challenges of making a sequel.
Deleted/Extended Scenes (10:36): There are two extended songs, one deleted song (I, Wonder) and a deleted scene. My favorite Abba song to not appear in the original was Knowing Me, Knowing You, which got a nice, but abbreviated sequence in the sequel. Seeing the extended version here was easily the highlight of the bunch.
Featurettes (1:01:46): There are 17 featurettes in total, all of which are really short, the longest is just over seven minutes and the shortest is barely a minute. Most of these revolve around the cast meeting each other, along with the cast talking about the story and getting back for the sequel.