I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Connor Bynum // Film Critic
MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN
Rated PG-13, 114 minutes.
Director: Ol Parker
Cast: Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, Christine Baranski, Colin Firth, Cher, Julie Walters, Jeremy Irvine and Meryl Streep
When we reviewed MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN in theaters earlier this year, we praised it for its clever use of the original film’s heavily referenced backstory and expanded inclusion of ABBA’s vast library of musical hits. As the film hits store shelves this week, it’s safe to say this unexpected sequel is just as irresistible as ever.
Movie Grade: B-
From our theatrical review:
“Taking place over two different timelines, one in the 1970s and the other in present day, HERE WE GO AGAIN opens with Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) having taken over the family hotel after the untimely loss of her mother, Donna (Meryl Streep). That’s right, in spite of what the film’s marketing would have you believe, Streep’s presence in this film is reduced to a glorified cameo. However disappointing this may be to fans of the first film, the bold decision to remove Streep actually acts as a catalyst for the events in the present day timeline. Literally every person in Sophie’s life was impacted in some way by her mother, which makes seeing how it all happened in the 1970s timeline all the more satisfying to watch.
While more cynical viewers may be inclined to dismiss such a premise as nothing more than MAMMA-MIA! fan fiction, one could also say that it provides much needed weight to the characters on screen, therefore making them more relatable to the audience. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the 1970s actors collectively do a fantastic job at portraying their present day counterparts.
… While proudly flaunting the signature campiness of the original, there’s an unmistakable amount of sincerity in this sequel that elevates it in practically every way over its predecessor.”
Video/Audio Grade: A-
HERE WE GO AGAIN arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Universal Studios, having been captured in native 2.8K resolution and mastered in a 2K Digital Intermediate. To put it simply, this is one good looking Blu-ray. Similar to the 2008 film, the scenes filmed on location, in Croatia, take full advantage of the HD presentation. Blue skies and crystal clear waters wonderfully contrasted with bright mountain cliffs offer marvelous detail. Skin tones are also vibrant and clear even without HDR to boost saturation. Only a handful of night scenes seem a little crushed, and I strongly suspect the finale to heavily feature green screen rather than a true location. This, at times, leaves the background feeling somewhat softer than usual and can be a little off putting. Of course, this is a minor gripe in an otherwise dazzling 1080p experience.
A musical film can only be as good as its audio. Thankfully, the Dolby Atmos track on the disc is a fantastic arrangement. The musical numbers are easily the most enjoyable aspect of the Atmos track, but that is certainly expected. However, the track is equally immersive during dialogue scenes as well. Ambient sounds of the island, in particular, are a nice touch that never feel out of place or overpowering.
Extras Grade: A
As far as special features are concerned, this disc is jam packed with them. The obvious stand out feature is easily the Sing Along for every song in the film. This feature will probably be overlooked by most viewers over the age of 12, but it’s a great way for younger viewers to become more familiar with songs their parents probably already know by heart. Other notable inclusions are the deleted/extended songs and scenes, as well as “Class of ‘79,” which focuses on the younger cast and how they prepared to portray the younger versions of their iconic counterparts. Overall, the extras on this disc will leave very few fans wanting for more.
- Deleted/Extended Songs and Scenes – optional commentary by director and screenplay writer Ol Parker:
- Deleted Song Performance – “I Wonder” (1080p; 3:04)
- Extended Song Performance – “The Name of the Game” (1080p; 3:13)
- Extended Song Performance – “Knowing Me, Knowing You” (1080p; 2:41)
- Deleted Scene – Tahini (1080p; 1:38)
- High Jinks (1080p; 1:09)
- Enhanced Sing Alongs (1080p; 46:37)
- The Story (1080p; 5:33)
- MAMMA MIA! Reunited (1080p; 3:33)
- Playing Donna (1080p; 2:28)
- Sophie’s Story (1080p; 3:30)
- Meeting Cher (1080p; 3:43)
- Costumes and the Dynamos (1080p; 4:59)
- Choreographing MAMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN (1080p; 7:25)
- Cast Meets Cast
- Tanya Meets Tanya (1080p; 3:10)Wynn.
- Rosie Meets Rosie (1080p; 3:15)
- Curtain Call (1080p; 3:59)
- Dancing Queen: Anatomy of a Scene (1080p; 3:26)
- Cast Chats
- Dynamo Chit-Chat (1080p; 2:42)
- Dad Chat (1080p; 2:19)
- Performing for Legends (1080p; 2:46)
- Class of ’79 (1080p; 3:48)
- Today Interview with Cher and Judy Craymer (1080i; 4:35)
- Feature Commentary with Director/Screenplay Writer Ol Parker
- Feature Commentary with Producer Judy Craymer
Final Grade: A-
MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN is a fantastic Blu-ray disc, plain and simple. Viewers who aren’t fond of musicals need not apply. Everyone else is sure to have the time of their lives.
MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN is now available on 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and digital.