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DVD Pick: Mamma Mia! (2-Disc Special Edition)

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'Mamma Mia' DVD Cover

'Mamma Mia' DVD Cover

© Universal Studios Home Entertainment

ABBA Tunes, a Greek Isle and Meryl Streep

Mamma Mia! (2008) is a jukebox musical constructed around the songs of the Scandinavian pop group ABBA, whose heyday was 1976 to 1981. Their signature number was "Dancing Queen," and among their other hits heard in the movie are "Waterloo," "Honey, Honey" and "SOS." The film is adapted from the stage musical of the same name that has been seen by tens of millions. However, the movie is polarizing: tedious for some, but many of us find it to be a lot of fun.

Meryl Streep plays the lead, and she is supported by Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard and Colin Firth. The only young actors having roles of any consequence are Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper. All eight of these actors do their own singing, and musically they are no match for the slick, commercial ABBA sound. But through body language and the delivery of lyrics, the actors often capture the emotion expressed in the songs. Streep is especially good in her big number "The Winner Takes It All."

As in many musicals, the story is slight: Years ago, a free-spirited woman (Streep) had a child without knowing which of her three lovers fathered it. Now grown to age 20, the offspring (Seyfried) sets out to discover who her father is. But the tale is set on a sunny Greek island, and parts of the movie are shot at stunning locations.

Mamma Mia! doesn't appeal to everyone. The filmmaking is sometimes clumsy, and the acting is deliberately over the top. But those who get into the spirit of the movie find themselves carried away by its energy and joyfulness.

Bonus Materials on Disc One

In addition to the feature film, Disc One of the two-disc Special Edition Mamma Mia! DVD set contains three extras. There's a sometimes informative, mostly dull, feature-length audio commentary by director Phyllida Lloyd, who also directed the stage version. In addition, there's a deleted musical number, "The Name of the Game," a solo by Amanda Seyfried that sets the wrong tone when performed in context. Finally, there's an option where you can sing along with the movie's 22 musical numbers as the words to the songs appear on the screen much as they do in karaoke systems.

Bonus Materials on Disc Two, Including Digital Copy

Disc Two of the two-disc Special Edition Mamma Mia! DVD set provides about an hour and seven minutes of additional extras. However, there are no real grabbers.

The longest extra is the pedestrian 24-minute "Making of Mamma Mia!," in which the producers, director, screenwriter and two members of ABBA — Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson — talk about the movie. The 11-minute "Becoming a Singer" shows the principal actors, none of whom sing professionally, learning to do the songs. The six-minute "Anatomy of a Musical Number" is about Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper doing the song "Lay All Your Love on Me." In the four-minute "On Location in Greece" we learn that shooting was done on two separate Greek islands, as well as on a coastal part of the mainland. Also, there are deleted scenes, outtakes and miscellaneous additional bonus materials, which are listed below.

Disc Two of the Special Edition Mamma Mia! DVD set also contains a digital copy of the feature film. This permits the movie to be easily transferred to a PC, Mac, iPod, iPhone or other portable media player.

DVD Details

Below I have listed all the details for the two-disc Special Edition DVD set of Mamma Mia! There is also a single-disc DVD edition that is identical to Disc One of the two-disc Special Edition. Furthermore, the movie is available in a Blu-ray edition containing all the bonus materials of the two-disc Special Edition DVD set plus additional extras.

Release Date: December 16, 2008
Number of Discs: 2

Disc One:

Feature Film
Runtime: 1 hour 49 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Some Sex-Related Comments
Anamorphic Widescreen (2.40:1), Color
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
English Captions for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Spanish Subtitles
French Subtitles
Audio Commentary by Director Phyllida Lloyd
Optional On-Screen Lyrics for 22 Musical Numbers
Deleted Musical Number: "The Name of the Game" (3 min.)

Disc Two:

English Dolby Digital 2.0
English Captions for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Spanish Subtitles
French Subtitles
Deleted Scenes (8 min.)
Outtakes (1 1/2 min.)
The Making of Mamma Mia! (24 min.)
Anatomy of a Musical Number "Lay All Your Love on Me" (6 min.)
Becoming a Singer (11 min.)
Behind the Scenes With Amanda (4 min.)
On Location in Greece (4 min.)
A Look Inside Mamma Mia! (2 1/2 min.)
"Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" Music Video (4 min.)
Björn Ulvaeus Cameo (1 1/2 min.)
Digital Copy of Feature Film

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