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An independent, single mother who owns a small hotel on an idyllic Greek island, Donna (Streep) is about to let go of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), the spirited daughter she's raised alone. For Sophie's wedding, Donna has invited her two lifelong best girlfriends—practical and no-nonsense Rosie (Julie Walters) and wealthy, multi-divorcee Tanya (Christine Baranski)—from her one-time backing band, Donna and the Dynamos. But Sophie has secretly invited three guests of her own. On a quest to find the identity of her father to walk her down the aisle, she brings back three men from Donna's past to the Mediterranean paradise they visited 20 years earlier. Over 24 chaotic, magical hours, new love will bloom and old romances will be rekindled on this lush island full of possibilities. Inspired by the storytelling magic of ABBA's songs from "Dancing Queen" and "S.O.S." to "Money, Money, Money" and "Take a Chance on Me," Mamma Mia! is a celebration of mothers and daughters, old friends and new family found.
For more about Mamma Mia! and the Mamma Mia! Blu-ray release, see the Mamma Mia! Blu-ray Review
Starring: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Stellan Skarsgård
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
» See full cast & crew
Mamma Mia! Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Sir Terrence, December 25, 2008
I must give credit (or curses) where credit is due. The music of ABBA has grown on me over the years thanks to my best friend Eric (who by the way is Swedish!). He is an ABBA addict who plays ABBA at every holiday gathering we have had for years. He taught me the name ABBA represents the first letters of all the group members names, something I never knew before (thanks Errr!). At first I thought ABBA had to be the corniest music ever created, but as I have listened to it over the years; I have grown to enjoy the catchy lyrics, and clever toe tapping qualities of their music. While Mamma Mia is not the first movie to utilize the music of ABBA (Priscilla Queen of the Desert used a few ABBA tunes), it is probably the first movie to use the music of ABBA as the foundation of a storyline for an entire movie. It is about time, as I think ABBA's music lends itself well to theatrical productions, and Mamma Mia as a stage play, and now a movie proves this. The music is easy, accessible, seems timeless, and now introduced to another generation via the stage play and this movie.
I read recently that Universal is considering a sequel to Mamma Mia. I can see why they would consider it. Mamma Mia had a budget of $52 million dollars, but had world wide gross revenue of $580 million dollars, making it the highest grossing musical of all time. In the United Kingdom, Mamma Mia is the highest grossing film of all time. With the Broadway play Mamma Mia still making its rounds in playhouses all over the world, Mamma Mia has turned into a genuine phenomenon. Now this is not to say Mamma Mia is a well made movie, it really isn't. It certainly is not up to the quality of the excellent Hairspray movie, but certainly better than the Producers when we talk about stage plays transformed into movies. The choreography is quite frankly horrible and corny, the acting at times overdone, the singing doesn't come close to looking live produced, or even sounding that way. The staging of mass dancers is extremely poor, as it looks like the director told them to jump and wave their hands, and she would take care of the rest. Instead of filming the entire production on location, they chose to do most of the filming on a sound stage in front of blue screens, which makes everything look slightly fuzzy. The singing is absolutely dreadful with the exception of Sophie's, which isn't bad at all. This movie is campy, cheesy, amateurish, and looks like ABBA music slid in between a paper thin narrative called a story line. In spite of all this, the entertainment factor trumps all of these issues, and helps you ignore them in real time as the movie plays out. I actually enjoyed the movie despite its drawbacks, drawbacks that I don't think the public really even cared about.
Mamma Mia begins in a remote Aegean island hotel, the Villa Donna run by Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep), her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), and Sophie's future husband Sky (Dominic Cooper). Sophie is about to get married and decides to send out three invitations to men she believes could be her father. When Sophie best friends and bridesmaids Ali (Ashley Lilley) and Lisa (Rachel McDowall) show up, she shares the fact she found her mother's diary and it reveals three men who could be her potential father. She believes that if she just spent a little time with each of them, she would know which man is her father.
Sam, Bill and Harry head to the island, but Sam and Harry missed the ferry to Skopelos, so Bill offers to ferry them to the island on his yacht. When they arrive Sophie hurriedly shuttles them off to their quarters, and tells them she invited them to her wedding, not her mother. When Donna eventually sees the three men, she insists they cannot stay. Upset, Donna goes to her friends Tanya and Rosie and tells them her secret. At Sophie's bachelorette party, her mother decides to do a special one night performance of Donna and the Dynamos. The festivities are interrupted by the arrival of Sam, Bill and Harry. She plots to get each one alone so she could talk to them. After doing so, she believes that Bill is the man. However when Sam and Harry tells her that they are her father, she cannot bring herself to tell them the truth, so she passes out. The next morning Rosie and Tanya assure Donna that they will take care of the men, while Donna confronts Sophie in the courtyard believing that she wants the wedding called off. Is the wedding going to happen? Will Donna fess up? Who is really going to get married?
Mamma Mia! Blu-ray, Video Quality
Mamma Mia sings its way on to the Bluray format in a stylized 1080p/AVC encode, framed at a 2:40:1 aspect ratio that is not quite focused correctly in my eyes. The source is clean enough, no pops, scratches, or dirt to be found. Contrast is a little on the hot side, but it does help give daylight scenes a nice pop. Black levels are rock solid except I found some night time scenes a little pumped up to improve shadow detail. Colors look oversaturated, which make things a little unnatural looking. Details are pretty good, but focus looks a little off giving everything a fuzzy, hazy look. The encode is so strong, it's very difficult to score the picture quality low without taking into consideration this may be an artistic decision for the look it has.
Mamma Mia! Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Universal graces Mamma Mia with a 5.1 English Dts-HD Master Audio track encoded at a healthy 24/48khz bit and sample rate. I quite frankly didn't like the sound, as it sounded manufactured rather than natural to these ears. The sound field has a compartmentalized feel to it, with the front hemisphere sounding completely separate from the rear, when the rear was active. You have front, and rear, with nothing on the sides to join the two together. Vocals sounded separated from the music, as the studio recorded vocals do not sound like they are in the same room as the scores musicians. The ADR recorded dialog also does not mesh well with the overall mix. While the bass sounds tight and articulate, and the highs nicely extended, the midrange sounds recessed, and a bit veiled. No matter how much I listened, I just didn't like the way this mix sounded. Much like the video I was so entertained; I didn't pay as much attention to the faults of this film the first time watching as I did the second time around
Mamma Mia! Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Mamma Mia comes to Bluray stocked full of extras, but I guarantee you will be diagnosed with diabetes when you are finished viewing them.
Audio Commentary-Director Phyllida Lloyd takes us through the entire production, from key decisions on the production, voice rehearsals, and working with ABBA members Bjorn and Benny.
Featurette: The Making of Mamma Mia (HD-25 minutes) is basically a shorten version of the audio commentary.
Featurette: Becoming a Singer (HD-11 minutes)
Featurette: Anatomy of a Musical Number (HD-6 minutes)
Featurette: A Look Inside mamma Mia (HD 3 minutes)
Deleted Scenes (HD/SD 8 minutes) offers 6 cut scenes presented in both HD and SD.
Music Video: Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!! (HD-5 minutes)
U-Control: Picture in Picture/Behind the Hits
BD-Live: My Scenes Sharing/My Chat/My Movie Commentary . Out of these three BD live features; My Movie Commentary is one of the most innovative use of BD live yet to hit the Bluray format. A webcam is needed, but essentially you record and upload your own commentary, and it will appear as a PIP window over the main feature just like a standard PIP track would. This is really cool, let me tell you.
Mamma Mia! Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
There is no doubt, this movie is entertaining. So much so, it makes you over look its faults, and there are many. I have really grown to like ABBA's music, and if there is any reason to buy this Bluray disc, it is for the music. If you really like the music, you are going to have to struggle hard to over look the poor singing of their material. The only reason I would buy this disc, is to give it to somebody who really appreciates the music more than the performance.
Mamma Mia!: Other Editions
Mamma Mia! Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Mamma Mia! Gift Set Announced for Blu-ray - August 14, 2009
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced that they will re-release the popular musical 'Mamma Mia!' as a Blu-ray gift set on November 10th, day-and-date with the DVD Gift Set. When released, the 'Mamma Mia! The Movie - Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie! More Blu-ray ...
• Today on Blu-ray - December 16th - December 16, 2008
Since the days of Laserdisc, the Criterion Collection has dedicated their efforts to collecting the greatest classic and contemporary films from around the world, and make them available to the general public at the highest quality possible. Today, they release ...
• Mamma Mia Detailed for Blu-ray - October 30, 2008
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced the technical specs and special features for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Mamma Mia', which is due to hit store shelves on December 16th, day-and-date with the DVD release. For this two disc set, video will ...
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