Saturday, July 19, 2008


Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Dominic Cooper

"A mother. A daughter. Three possible fathers. Take a trip down the aisle you'll never forget."

Cinema 4, Shang Cineplex

I've always been very particular when it comes to movies based on musicals/plays. There are some I have avoided like the plague such as "Hairspray" and "Showgirls". While others like "The Phantom of the Opera", "Evita" I really loved and can't get enough of them.

The first time I heard about "Mamma Mia", I couldn't imagine a play/musical based entirely on Abba songs. It sounded like a preposterous idea. But I was still curious and was keen to watch it. I had the chance when it (the musical) was staged a few years ago in Singapore but due to budget constraints I wasn't able to experience it. So this weekend while it seems that every single person in Manila was lined up to see the winged crusader battle it out with the Joker, I was at a different cinema! I was soaking in the delightful, infectious songs of the famous 70s Swedish group.

Truth be told, the film is pretty mushy, alright. The cast can barely sing. Yes I'm talking about you, Pierce Brosnan. The plot is reminiscent of a Mexican telenovela.

But oh what the heck.

The Greek setting was absolutely postcard perfect. There was plenty of yummy eye candy in the specimens of Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth. There was perfect comedic timing essayed by the funny 'sidekicks', Julie Walters (Ms Shirley Valentine, herself) and Christine Baranski. Meryl Streep was in her elements, even in hideously gaudy disco outfits and platform shoes. There was the luminous Amanda Seyfried, who was so refreshingly sweet. And naturally there were the songs of ABBA. The songs I grew up listening to while I was only this high. The songs I danced to when I didn't know any better. To this day, my father would tease me and my sister that we absolutely adored "Voulez Vous" and would sing and dance to it to our hearts' content with extreme glee. Gosh how embarrassing!

On the other hand, I was baffled about two points in the movie. Why does Sky (the groom) talk with a very distinct British accent? Won't it be more believable if his nationality was Greek? Then later in the movie Colin Firth's character suddenly ehem changed his genre. Now that's simply incredulous.

But anyways, "Mamma Mia!" is indeed a delightful theatrical experience one must not miss if only to draw in the nostalgic moments of our now very distant childhood. Don't be shy if you are caught singing along to the wonderful songs of ABBA. You won't be the only one!

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