Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
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.