Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is the aptly-named sequel to the 2008 ABBA-infused film, itself based on a 1999 musical of the same name. Somewhat like the revival of the Ocean’s franchise also set for release later this year, the trailer for Here We Go Again leans heavily on past musical favourites, and thus memory (if not nostalgia), immediately beginning with “I Have a Dream,” a signature song from the original musical. At 0:25 we see and hear a clever analogy for the flashback about to occur plot-wise, as we prominently hear a cassette tape being rewound — the cassette itself serves as a piece of retro symbolism, like in Guardians of the Galaxy, in addition to the fact that it is being rewound, .
Cue what else than “Dancing Queen,” the quintessential ABBA hit and a centrepiece of Mamma Mia, alongside the title card for the date (“next summer”). The track is interspersed by dialogue from Lily James (playing a young Donna Sheridan with mother Meryl Streep), delivering some vague but curiosity-inducing lines such as “you don’t really know me at all, do you?” The question as much for the audience as it is for the person on-screen, with the title cards promising to tell the story of “how it all began” in greater detail.
The mood of the trailer takes a turn from celebratory to somber as a young Donna sings the verse of the title track on-screen with off-screen piano accompaniment (sitting in between being in and out of the sonic universe of the film, as music in musicals does). The track carries on beyond the scene and we see a montage of more introspective moments in her life, only to pick up again as the track does with the song’s chorus, highlighting her drive to continue despite any setbacks real or perceived.
At 2:10, after the title card, we hear a deep bass sound as Sophie’s grandmother (Cher) arrives unannounced to a party hosted by Sophie; she leaves on a note of additional intrigue and a talking point for outlets to focus on.
Clearly, this trailer uses music in a wholly expected and straightforward way, leaning rather heavily on the past as cover songs do. Using two tracks in equal measure to deliver equal doses of action and drama, as well as using equal parts music and dialogue (leaning towards music, as is appropriate for a musical adaptation), this trailer for Here We Go Again is nothing if not even-keeled. In that regard, there’s something to be said for the way it achieves a sense of emotional and sensory balance. The literal, “un-trailerized” covers in the trailer soundtrack both identify the franchise and draw upon audience memories for the original song and the film.
– Curtis Perry