ABBA: The Movie – Fan Event review: ‘Spectacular performances, hilarious fan interviews’ - how to get tickets
The classic 1977 ABBA: The Movie is getting a special two-day cinema release in September.
and live on Freeview channel 276
Following the perhaps unexpected revival of ABBA in recent years in the form of Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and digital avatars, fans now have the chance for some retro enjoyment.
ABBA: The Movie - Fan Event is a two-day cinematic release (September 17 and 19) of the 1977 concert film, with extras.
For those unfamiliar with the movie, it’s a series of live recordings tied together with a ‘mockumentary’ plot. All pretty straight forward and modern (this is pre-Spinal Tap).
What that summary doesn’t tell you about is the hilarious cast of Australian actors and fans who pack the thing out.
Our hero is a DJ dispatched from his comfort zone of country radio to secure an interview with the band before they leave the continent.
What follows are spectacular performances which remind you what a live powerhouse ABBA were, punctuated by set pieces and often very funny vox pops with fans and apparent passers-by. It’s hard to tell how much is staged and how much is in the editting, but we have responsible adults talking about how “clean” the band are and very young children disagreeing about why they are such big fans.
Compared to the corporate machinery of today, some of it is remarkably quaint, with footage of venues being prepared for the concerts with fold-out chairs and single security guards holding back fans at fences.
So that’s the supporting cast, but this is about Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. Or is it? The ‘mockumentary’ plot make them all appear quite distant, despite some up-close footage. There are staged scenes where the band are sat around chatting, or at press conferences, but it all has the air of fiction.
At times the film feels very 1970s, not least in media questions about Agnetha’s rear. While most of the band laugh or shrug off the subject, director Lasse Hallström’s camera dwells on the unsmiling face of Anni-Frid.
In fact, it is the distracted melancholy of Anni-Frid which draws the attention through out the movie, suggesting more is going on than is being shown.
Whatever the aim of the movie, it never gets dull, and the performances and videos of songs including Tiger, S.O.S. Waterloo and Dancing Queen are barnstorming.
The new release features previews of ABBA Voyage and ABBA The Museum in Stockholm, extra rare 1977 tour footage and some singalong videos.
ABBA: The Movie - Fan Event tickets
ABBA: The Movie - Fan Event will be in cinemas on September 17 and 19 in more than 20 countries, presented by ABBA, Polar Music International AB, and Trafalgar Releasing.
Tickets: Visit abbathemovie.com for full listings and links to purchase tickets.
Runtime: 121 mins approx (including extras)