Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Film Mamma Mia, Abba and a Paleolithic Hootenanny


Last night I went and saw the film 'Mama Mia'. Some of the acting was wooden, the plot was linear, (no highways and byways of complex subplots here). The characters were one dimensional cardboard cutouts in a one dimensional movie, ( no intellectual demands at all ) - and I loved every minute of it and I want to see it again.

I drove home with a huge smile on my face. The smile is still with me today and if I try and make it go away it springs back like a jack in the box. Why? because for all its faults the movie evokes smiling and joy - and smiling and joy are good for you.

Of course the asp like tongues of critics are out already with their typical modern day half and half reviews - the first half talks about the movie, the second half says - look at me, look at me, look at me, I am so witty and clever.

What drives this movie? some fantastic dancing and Abba's music of course - and what makes the music so compelling.? Well I found this explanation which is very interesting:

"The multi tracked harmonies of singers Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad awaken the part of our brains in which our inner caveman is still enjoying a Paleolithic hootenanny with the rest of his clan.
If you look at the evolutionary biology of the species and the chemical reactions we have to events in the world, for tens of thousands of years when we as a species heard music we heard groups singing it, not an individual and not an individual standing on a stage. So the ABBA model of the multiple voices or the Edwin Hawkins Singers singing 'Oh Happy Day' is much closer to stimulating these evolutionary echoes of what music really is, fundamentally."

I say amen to all that and give me a Paleolithic hootenanny anytime - its really good for the facial muscles.

Oh, I almost forgot - the reason why I initially went to see the film was to see the famous historic yacht called the Tai - Mo - Shan which plays a role in the film. You can read about this ketch soon on my sailing Blog (Find the link on the right hand side of this page - SimplySailing).

12 comments:

Katherine said...

Stuff the critics...I've heard nothing but great reactions about this film, definitely going! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Hear hear to feeling good and song 'n dance!

Kathryn said...

I am really looking forward to seeing "Mamma Mia". I am going on Wednesday evening with a group of girl friends.
Thank you for your honest, down to earth review. It sounds like great fun.
My Pastor at Church said he thought we were doing something spiritual on our Church ladies evening (tongue in cheek) and I assured him it was definitely spiritual!

Tillerman said...

If anyone leaves the theatre without having worn a patch in the carpet from tapping their feet to the music and having had their eyes brimming with tears more than once has antifreeze in their bloodstream and are wearing leg irons.

I know you will just love it.

Kathryn said...

You are so right. Everything you said about Mamma Mia is true.
We didn't want to get up out of our seats when it ended, to leave that joyful, happy environment where people were clapping! We felt like dancing!
I noticed that everyone coming out of the cinema was smiling.
Afterwards, all the ladies went next door for a hot chocolate with marshmallows and it was the noisiest I have ever heard it! So many ladies can make such a lot of noise!
We all agreed that we felt uplifted and inspired, if somewhat disappointed in Colin Firth (Will he ever be anyone else but Mr D'Arcy in our minds).
Long Live ABBA.
I'm sure we will all go and see it again. :-)

Daphne said...

Sounds great! I want to see it!

Barbara said...

Mamma Mia forever. YES!!! I went to this movie on Tuesday night with 20 other women and only one did not become totally enamoured. I am going to see it again, and again and then I will get the DVD so I can sing and dance right along with them. I sat through the credits and I also clapped at the end of the movie, I was on such a high.

Yes Kathryn it was definitely spiritual!

By the way I am Kathryn's big (but not oldest) sister and I also went to Aranui High! I will certainly be looking for info on the 2010 shindig, and Tillerman you leave my little sisters undies alone. LOL

Tillerman said...

Kathryn I am so glad you enjoyed the movie, I knew you would. How wonderful to see it with a lot of other people, it really is a film to share with others.

Colin Firth as something other than Mr Darcy surely shows the power of an actor getting type cast - its one of the dangers of being hugely successful in a role. Diana Rigg as Emma Peel, Sean Connery as James Bond etc.
So what are you waiting for get out there and buy yourself a CD of Abba's greatest hits, put it in your ipod and boogie at work!

Tillerman said...

Hi Barbara, it really was a great movie wasn't it and to share it with others, did you go with Kathryn?
I thought the part at the end where the guys came out all dressed up was a real hoot!! I think I really will go and see it again.
- And it is good to see you looking out for your little sister's underwear, that's one of the things that big sisters are for and I'll stop there while I am ahead as they say.
Do you have a blogspot Barbara? and yes look out for the reunion, hopefully they will be playing some Abba music!

Barbara said...

Hi Tillerman, I live in Christchurch, the only member of our family still in NZ. So Kathryn has someone to stay with when she comes for the Aranui High 50th!!! In our family I am known as Lynne, there was a mix up when I enrolled at Aranui and Mr Brittenden fixed me with his glass eye and asked me my name, I said Barbara Lynne and he replied "Right then Barbara" and I was struck dumb!!! Not my usual state I must admit. I do not have a Blog, wouldn't know how to get one :-)
As for ABBA, I think their music is called for at any party, great to dance to.

VenDr said...

Tonight I went and saw the film 'Mama Mia'. Some of the acting was wooden, the plot was linear, (no highways and byways of complex subplots here). The characters were one dimensional cardboard cutouts in a one dimensional movie, ( no intellectual demands at all ) - and I found the whole thing unbelievably tedious and wondered why I had given up a perfectly good Friday night to sit through the damned thing.

There was a stellar cast - but all of them famous for their acting (Meryl Streep, Julie Walters) their looks (Pierce Brosnan) or both (Colin Firth). None of them famous for their singing. Meryl Streep managed quite well, and Colin Firth was surprisingly OK but the rest... well...

I was never much of an Abba fan, and tonight I was reminded why. Even back in the 70s they were self parodying - a sort of send up of the whole glitter, platform sole, bell bottomed thing. The sort of camp sprakly vibe they had was perfect for a film like Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and it was poignant in Muriel's Wedding. But here, the shallow pastiche that passed for a plot was based on the songs and the songs just weren't up to it.

Well, let's not bee all negative. The 3 positives:
1. The scenery
2. Encouraging to see a romantic film in which the principals were middle aged (but then again, they were the age of the people who remember ABBA and who might be expected to come to the thing, so maybe it was just a seat filling ploy)
3. I'm sure I can think of a third if you give me long enough.

Time to go and change the antifreeze in my bloodstream and take off the leg irons ready for bed.

Tillerman said...

Hrrmmphh - you didn't mention the glorious ketch Tai - Mo - Shan.

Some people are just born landlubbers.

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