Monday, July 21, 2008

Mamma Mia...

This weekend I went to see the newest in a trend of rather unsuccessful movie musicals: Mamma Mia.

By unsuccessful I don't necessarily mean by box office standards. The film has had a pretty decent (and extensive!) marketing campaign going on for a while. But can Broadway really translate well to the screen?

I am a HUGE fan of the old movie musicals. I grew up watching Singing in the Rain and Royal Wedding and all the old classics. But those that have been released in recent years just cannot compare (except Chicago, which is one of my favorites now).

I want to write more about this -- translating performance to the screen -- when I have the time, and perhaps I'll share a long paper I wrote in college (it's weird to say things like that...'back in college' like it was years ago...) about the musical genre. But for now I'll just say that you should see Mamma Mia for a smile and a laugh, but don't expect much. I've never seen the stage version and even putting aside the fact that the story is hardly substantial enough for a film plot, I'd be willing to bet the theme of interrupting perfectly fine dramatic scenes with an ABBA song out of nowhere goes over better onstage than on screen.

Other thoughts?


Meg said...

I haven't seen the film version but I did see the stage version and I think my assessment would have been pretty similar to your view of the film. It was fun if you enjoy ABBA--which I do--but nothing more. The story comes off as an insubstantial excuse to have people perform ABBA songs on stage.

Which is to say that Mamma Mia didn't have much to lose in translation. I do agree, though, that most musicals are a disappointment when they go from Broadway to the movie theater.

Sofia said...

..What was it about those old MGM movies that made them so amazing? Maybe it was the sheer simplicity of it that made it spectacular??? I agree, todays movie musicals are lacking.

Just for the record I've seen Mamma Mia on stage and was really unimpressed. Loved the ABBA aspect but otherwise it didn't really have an impact. I'm guessing the movie is much the same...but the cast is what makes it worth seeing!

Sorry haha...I can't resist the chance to talk Broadway :]

Taylor said...

Thanks for your comments you guys :)

I think I'm going to have to find time to see the stage version sometime soon so I have a better perspective but...

I should note that the movie version cast was great considering what was asked. At first I thought Meryl Streep jumping on a bed and singing looked ridiculous but by the end it seemed like she was just having a wonderful time with it all. Amanda Seyfried has a nice voice. And Christine Baransky and the other friend (forgot her name..?) stole the show (er, movie) for me. The guys weren't as good with the whole musical aspect.

Just my opinion :)

movie buff said...

I was coerced into seeing Mamma Mia (the play), which ended up being great... as for the movie version, sounds fun, though it's awkward to think of ol' Pierce trying to sing, yeeesh