All Ages of Geek The Super Mario Bros. Movie

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Review

Super Mario is a beloved property of Nintendo that has never stopped being a popular video game franchise for the company, but it is adapting it to a feature film has become a huge challenge. It has been many decades since the failed live-action film that now Nintendo is taking a chance again on bringing the company’s mascot back into the big screen to give it the proper film treatment. Teaming up with Illumination, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a culmination of two giant companies creating something special that fans will appreciate and love. It is the world of Super Mario that fully comes to life with vibrant colors and zany characters in this animated film thanks to the entire crew of artists and musicians who truly understand why this video game franchise is so popular among fans around the world. 

If anyone has played Super Mario, most fans would know that the story behind the plumbing hero is pretty easy to follow. The plot behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie is also no different as it follows brothers Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) from Brooklyn who get sucked into the magical Mushroom Kingdom after finding a warping pipe during a plumbing job. They soon get entangled in King Bowser’s (Jack Black) conquest to find the Super Star to take over the Toad-infested kingdom where Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) resides. Rather than Peach getting kidnapped from the games, it is Luigi who ends up captured by Bowser and it is up to Mario to save him with the help of the Princess and other allies they meet along the way. The story takes the approach of having Mario be the savior, which is a plot that everyone may be familiar with. However, in the context of this character and the world of these games, it works when the film finds fun ways to find Mario in these fish-out-of-water situations as he learns to become a hero.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie finds ways to rely on familiar tropes from the video games to create fun situations in which the characters find themselves in. Whether it’s Mario experimenting on different power-up abilities or him trying to navigate pipes through the Mushroom Kingdom, the movie makes fun of these situations and appeals to fans as well as those who have some knowledge of who these characters are. There are tons of Easter eggs and references to the Mario games that fans will easily see that don’t feel too over-reliant on them to sour the enjoyment of the movie. The logistics of how things in this world work aren’t explained, but that’s okay because the movie trusts the audience to not question them and just know that they exist. Once they get invested in this world and the characters, nothing else will matter and it becomes easier to follow along for the ride.

The visuals and sound design of The Super Mario Bros. Movie is perhaps the highest selling point for this adaptation of a video game property. The marvelous beauty of the Mushroom Kingdom, the epic green forests of Jungle Kingdom, and the cold tundras of the Penguin Kingdom are just a few of many of the locations that pop up on the screen that is visually stunning to see. These locales are full of color and it’s something that should be expanded more in the future. Brian Tyler’s incredible score mixes some of those classic video game themes from the games that fans know so well and make the best transition to film. Even some of the use of 80s tracks doesn’t take away from the fact that the musical score is a love letter to the Mario games paying respect to Koji Kondo’s original composition.

Of course, most of the attention for The Super Mario Bros. Movie is the voice acting, which is filled with some great talent that in most ways delivered their roles. Jack Black immediately steals the spotlight playing the evil Bowser and it is the perfect choice to showcase the actor’s bombastic personality as well as his musical talents. Keegan-Michael Key also puts in the dedication as the overly-enthusiastic Toad, which brings out the funnier side of the character while also having Key do something completely different with his voice to match Toad’s personality. The same can be said with Seth Rogen and Anya’s roles as Donkey Kong and Peach, where they each bring the strengths of their characters while doing something silly with them to capture their likeness and voice.

Chris Pratt and Charlie Day put in the work to play the Mario Bros. as two siblings from Brooklyn. Even though they may sound nothing like their original counterparts, they still manage to capture the essence of who these characters are. We do get moments where they would sound somewhat like Charles Martinet’s impressions of these characters, but perhaps making them sound like normal New Yorkers is what’s best to blend them into this fantastical world of the Mushroom Kingdom. It leaves room to help some of the supporting cast get their moment in the spotlight. We do get to see their bond for much of the film’s beginning, but we see less of that interaction when they get separated. It would be great to see more of their bond down the road because that’s what brings out the best of these characters both in the games and the film.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a fun-filled adventure that fully embraces what fans love about the franchise. It is full of energy thanks to the characters and the vibrant world of the Mushroom Kingdom that feels very much like a fantasy world that anyone would want to live in. The expansive world of the movie and its characters leaves the door open for sequels and spin-offs to explore more about this vast universe. The voice acting from the cast gives a different yet familiar approach to these characters that put in enough to love their version of them. It is a great accomplishment from Nintendo and Illumination to complete a nearly impossible task to bring these characters to life and make it enjoyable. All in all, it is made with a labor of love for the fans.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is now out in theaters.

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