7:30 PM, 24th August, 2018
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is both a sequel and prequel to 2008’s Mamma Mia!. All of the original’s impressive cast return, alongside Meryl Streep once again flinging and singing her way vigorously in the role of Donna.
The sequel scenes are driven by Donna’s daughter, Sophie (Seyfried), as she learns to cope with her pregnancy, aided by flashbacks to young Donna’s youth and her own pregnancy with Sophie. The talented Lily James (fresh from playing Winston Churchill’s secretary in Darkest Hour and also seen this semester in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) plays the young Donna in the prequel scenes.
This movie and its predecessor are unusual for a jukebox musical (one where all of the songs are pre-existing hits) in that the hit songs sung by the cast were created by a single pop group: ABBA. About half of the classic ABBA songs from the first movie get an encore performance, with the rest of the classics on the soundtrack making their movie debut. Regardless of whether you saw the original Mamma Mia!, you’re in for a f-ABBA-ulous time.
9:34 PM, 24th August, 2018
Sonny Malone (Beck) reluctantly returns to his job at Airflow Records, drawing poster-sized replicas of album covers for on-site promotions, because he couldn’t make a living as a freelance artist. On his first day back at Airflow he gets side-tracked by thoughts of a young woman called Kira (Newton-John) after she rollerskates into him. Sonny is unaware that their initial encounter and subsequent encounters are not by accident, as Kira is a muse who was awakened by his lamentations about his art and sent to help him achieve his artistic vision.
The same day Sonny also meets Danny McGuire (Kelly), an aging former big band musician turned construction company owner, who wants to return to his roots by running a live music venue. This meeting, as it turns out, has also been orchestrated by the mysterious Kira. Together, Danny and Sonny create an artistic and commercial success: a unique club called Xanadu.
Absolutely a product of its time, and emphasised by its amazing ‘roller disco’ soundtrack from Electric Light Orchestra, Xanadu is light-hearted and nostalgic 1980s fun worth revisiting on the big screen in all its glory.