ABBA - The Movie ★★★

ABBA: THE MOVIE is great-looking, reflecting the group's big and bright confectionary persona, and sounds pure when the band performs hits like "Mamma Mia," "Waterloo," "S.O.S.," "Fernando," and, of course, "Dancing Queen." There's even a touch of silly fantasy in a couple of music videos, one of which is presented as Hughes' ABBA-saturated dream. Even with all of the additional material and fictional subplot, ABBA: THE MOVIE is slight, and the focus on Hughes is a diversionary tactic away from the band members (Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, and Agnetha Fältskog), who seem, in their brief off-stage moments, not particularly interesting. As a casual fan — one of the millions who knows most but not all of the songs on ABBA Gold and few others — I found ABBA: THE MOVIE pleasant, but not something that enhanced my interest; die-hard fans may find Hughes' exploits tolerable-to-excruciating, and that there's overall too little effort at personalizing or revealing the individual members as people, but the concert footage is likely excellent enough to make all of that moot.

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