- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The sequel to a cinematic adaptation of a popular Broadway musical moves to ultra-high definition to dazzle fans smitten with the songs of ABBA in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: Sing Along Edition (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, rated PG-13, 114 minutes, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, $26.96).

Golly goodness, I’m always up for an extended listening session with the infectious songs of the 1970s super pop group, but did we really needed another movie, a decade later, with a bunch of somewhat distinguished actors covering the same song territory?

Well, my dumb question was answered by the blockbuster response at the theaters and critical acclaim for another hummable dose of the “Mamma Mia!” legend.

The festive reopening of the Grecian Hotel Bella Donna by Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), the daughter of deceased Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep), with help from her three dads (it’s complicated) sets up a nostalgia trip into an extended story.

It then takes viewers back to the 1979. Her free-spirited mother (Lily James) and her pals Tanya (Jessica Keenan Wynn) and Rosie (Alexa Davies) — while introducing younger versions of her suitors (Josh Dylan, Hugh Skinner, Jeremy Irvine) — relive the birth of Sophie and Donna’s dream of buying the hotel.

Her mommy issues and love complexities play out as a multigenerational crescendo of current and flashbacked scenes as the stars (actors) align with the musical stylings of ABBA.

Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard return as of the old dads as well as Christine Baranski and Julia Walters as Donna’s older best friends and even the legendary Cher stops by to play Ruby, Donna’s mother.

Suffice it to report, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” delivers infectious entertainment for the fan, but for the serious musical connoisseur, it’s more of an infection on the genre.

Time to watch “Grease” and “West Side Story” again to clear my pallet.

4K in action: Vivid color and crisp visuals greet fans of the film so much so that I felt like I was sitting in the audience of a live Broadway show.

Even with only a 2K source to upscale to 4K, the outdoor locations on the Greek Isles and glistening water pop from the screen, and the colorful, ABBA-esque and period costuming benefits well from the high dynamic range enhancements.

The Dolby Atmos soundtrack envelopes fans of ABBA like a musical pillow as they appreciate classics such as “Fernando,” “SOS,” “Dancing Queen” and “Waterloo” but also offers a deeper catalog dive into the group with tunes such as “Angel Eyes” and “Why Did It Have to Be Me.”

Best extras: With the abundance of bonus content afforded this release, one might feel like they just watched the “Citizen Kane” of movie musicals.

A pair of optional commentary tracks will exhaust with solo offerings from director and writer, Ol Parker; and the producer of the films as well as stage musical, Judy Craymer.

Next, watch roughly an hour of production appreciation through 15 featurettes focusing on the story, cast, costuming and choreography to name just a few areas covered with even members of ABBA offering insight.

Also, viewers get a couple of deleted and extended scenes with optional director commentary.

Of course, as the title suggest, the movie can also be watched with a karaoke-style presentation to sing along with 18 of the toe-tapping tunes.

Finally, for those using the included code to watch the film on iTunes, they get an exclusive, 19-minute gushing roundtable discussion with some of the cast including Cher, Miss James, Miss Baranski and Miss Seyfried.

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