On reviewing ABBA The Movie, the question is raised: is this a 90 minute long commercial or may we consider this as some sort of dramatized documentary? The answer to this question will determine which criteria need to be used while reviewing it, while the choice of the criteria will subsequently be a deciding factor in the final verdict about the movie.
If you choose the first option, then you might say that ABBA The Movie is a fairly well made commercial that lives up to its aim, namely selling the product ABBA to a certain target group (50 million record buyers or more).
If you choose the second option, the verdict will be far less favourable and you could say that ABBA The Movie is a bad, cheap and especially uninventive movie, that partly distorts and partly disguises reality and fails in every respect to really inform the viewer. The information that actually is provided, is (apart from the music) a treacherous mixture of so called objective reports (people’s reactions, especially ABBA fans) and misleading looks behind the scenes, where nothing seems to be happening, except for maybe one and a half bodyguard and Anni-Frid warming up her voice in the dressing room.
Where the music is concerned, even that is fake; while we are looking at scenes of several performances of the group in Australia, we actually hear the songs from the record, but the scenes are so cleverly put together with the music that we barely notice the difference. The uninventiveness of the movie is especially underlined by the childish plot that glues the whole thing together. During the movie, an idiotic radio DJ tries to get his interview with ABBA and his mode of operation is so clumsy that it becomes laughable for those who know how things like that actually happen in reality. For the others who don’t know, it’s once again the fascinating world of commercials.
So, is ABBA The Movie indeed a long-drawn-out commercial? That’s fine by me. Apart from that, it makes the job of a reviewer much easier and when 50 million people want to be mistaken, then that’s up to them. Furthermore, if necessary, there is always something like the Commodities Act.