It’s hard to imagine a better movie for children than Super Mario Bros. It has a good amount of momentum to prevent kids from becoming bored, and practically every character is interesting and endearing in their own way. It is beautifully animated (even Bowser himself, thanks to the comedic stylings of Jack Black).
The abundantly clear that Nintendo did not want to make the same errors that were made in the other Mario movie, which was a live-action film released in 1993 and is ironically loved by some children who grew up in the 1990s because it was all we had at the time, but ultimately failed to capture the magic of the games. This movie, on the other hand, is jam-packed with everything from Nintendo’s back catalog that you could possibly recall. For the grownups, it’s a trip down memory lane, but for the kids, it’s just plain good clean fun.
The many wonderful animated movies
Nonetheless, it is really secure. It’s possible that I’ve become jaded as a result of the many wonderful animated movies that were not produced by Pixar that have been released in the last ten years, particularly those that have been produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie! Into the Spider-Verse!). Yet, it is very clear that Nintendo did not want to take any significant creative risks with this adaptation. The screenplay, which was written by Matthew Fogel and has an abundance of comedic and cultural allusions, successfully prevents us from becoming bored, and the moments that are directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic are really inventive. But, it seems as if the movie is imprisoned in a castle made of memories due to the caprices of an old-school business that has been there for decades. (I ask for your patience.)
It was not an issue for the younger viewers in my matinee group, but it is a little disheartening if you’ve been waiting for decades to see a version of Mario that does the original game justice. It’s consistent with the conclusion reached in the most recent live-action Sonic the Hedgehog movie: Super Mario Bros. is “OK.” There is no effort to create anything more complex than the game’s surface-level premise, which is that Mario (voiced by Chris Pratt) and Luigi (played by Charlie Day) are two struggling plumbers from Brooklyn who for some reason find themselves in the Mushroom Kingdom.
The most enjoyable just look at all of those Punch-Out
From the very beginning of the movie, you are barraged with an infinite succession of allusions – just look at all of those Punch-Out! figures on the wall! – something that will either excite longstanding Nintendo enthusiasts or cause you to roll your eyes. For me, the most enjoyable part was looking back and seeing how all of the throwback references were included (the adorably fatalistic Lumalee from Mario Galaxy practically steals the film). The directors also demonstrate a great deal of visual flare, such as a scene that takes place early on in Brooklyn and transitions into a 2D chase scenario. If only some of the selections of music shown a greater degree of originality. (Is this an allusion to Kill Bill? Is it “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler that plays during Mario’s training montage? (It’s time.)
In addition to being an exciting journey for children and a source of witty entertainment for adults, “The Lego Movie” tackled serious topics such as the shackles of capitalism, the value of defying limiting social expectations, and the ways in which obsessive fanaticism can destroy something that a person truly enjoys. This was all accomplished while still maintaining the film’s trademark sense of humor. In the video game Super Mario Bros., Mario eventually discovers that eating mushrooms would physically lead him to grow in size and strength. Such a hidden meaning!
The degree of admiration for a movie
On the other hand, I may still have some degree of admiration for a movie that is successful only in the sense that it amuses youngsters. Throughout the course of my life, I have been forced to see a large number of kid’s movies that are genuinely terrible. These movies have unattractive animation and production design, sloppy scripting, and no clear creative vision. It would be wonderful if there was any way I could get back the time I wasted watching Space Jam: A New Legacy or the Smurfs movie from 2011. Even though Super Mario Bros. might be described as simplistic and unchallenging at times, playing the game is not a waste of time.
To begin, Mario and the kingdom of mushrooms have never seemed to us to have such a high level of detail. While Illumination may not have the same outstanding track record as Pixar, the movie has characters that are exquisitely detailed, vivid settings that are crammed with detail, and some of the most flowing animation I’ve seen in years. It’s a visual feast, and it makes me wish for the day when a Mario game can look that beautiful (even though I adored Super Mario Odyssey, its graphics are held back by the Switch’s outdated technology). It’s a game that I’m looking forward to playing.
The voice acting was what kept me interested
In addition, the most of the time, the voice acting was what kept me interested. The character of Bowser, a hopeless romantic who can only express his affections via music and global dominance, is a source of inspiration for Jack Black, who plays the role. Luigi is a character that mostly exists to provide support for his younger brother, therefore Charlie Day just plays his typical hurried attitude with him. This suits the role well. And Anya Taylor-Joy is the ideal choice to portray Princess Peach, a leader who must put on a front of courage in order to protect the lovable citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom.
Despite all of the acclaim that Chris Pratt has received for his performance as Mario, his voice is just passable. The film makes fun of Charles Martinet’s poor original dialect (Martinet also voices two characters in the film), but Chris Pratt’s take on it simply sounds like someone trying to impersonate a slovenly native of Brooklyn. It is especially shocking considering how much life Pratt brought to the starring role he played in The Lego Movie.
Movie is not even close to being
The fact that The Super Mario Bros. Movie is not even close to being as good as it might have been is the aspect of the film that is the most disheartening. If the movie had been given more time to develop its characters or if it had let Jack Black to showcase his entire range of abilities as Bowser from Tenacious D, it would have been a far more powerful movie. Why don’t we ramp up the difficulty of that Mario Kart race a little bit? (Even Moana was able to sneak in a reference to the movie Mad Max: Fury Road!) Why not devote a little bit more screen time to the conflicting feelings of competition and friendship that exist between Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen) and Mario?
It is very evident that Nintendo is sitting on a winner, given that it is expected that the first weekend will bring in at least $150 million. A sequel is inevitable. My only wish is that the firm would be more laid back the next time we do this. After all, an adventure with Mario wouldn’t be very enjoyable if it didn’t include some daring leaps of imagination over chasms of uncertainty, would it?
It’s odd that it has taken this long
After 30 years, Nintendo has finally released a Super Mario Bros. film that will satisfy fans of the video game franchise. As a lifelong Nintendo fan, I still can’t believe it exists, and yet, in this age of Sonic the Hedgehog film sequels and Mushroom Kingdom theme parks, it’s odd that it has taken this long. Even seeing photos of Shigeru Miyamoto rubbing shoulders with Chris Pratt on the Hollywood red carpet this week felt like a bizarre collision of galaxies. Here we are, with 90 minutes of bright and breezy fare bringing Mario and the gang to the big screen in an adventure that is all-action and wafer-thin on plot – just like most Mario games! – albeit with a few tantalizing hints at character development buried between the constant cameos and continual laughs.
Other from those guest appearances, the plot of the Super Mario Bros. Movie is quite difficult to reveal. Mario is a skilled plumber from New York who comes from a large Italian family and has a younger brother named Luigi who he has always protected. The movie spends more time than anticipated establishing Mario’s Brooklyn background (with a few wonderful voice appearances from original Mario voice actor Charles Martinet), yet it never dares to stay still for too long. The movie cleverly acknowledges Mario’s new Chris Pratt accent, which rapidly settles on the ear, and glosses over the practicality of a plumber in spotless white gloves, all while juggling various plumbing and platforming action scenes. However, the brothers are soon magically drawn apart in various directions inside the Mushroom Kingdom.
The few genuine character moments
Some of the film’s few genuine character moments are based on the setup of a sort-of love triangle between Mario, Peach, and Bowser, as Mario and Peach get to know each other better and have a few opportunities to reflect on their respective origins.
But, the film’s need to swiftly shift to a humor for younger viewers, or what appears like a need to preserve plot strands for future sequels, sometimes cuts short any true relationship-building, which is a little disappointing. Of all, Mario games have never depended on his home life, and Peach’s family has only been hinted at in the most general terms – which is about all we get here, except one fascinating tidbit. Indeed, a “we were all Mario all along”-style third wall breach a la “The Lego Movie” would have seemed too out of place in a Mario movie.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie manages to thrive despite all of that, however. What little time we spend with Mario and Luigi (individually and as a family) leads up to a predictable but nevertheless exhilarating climax, and the film’s third act is enjoyable despite being mostly unspoiled in trailers and teasers.
According to the technological genius of Despicable Me’s producers Illumination, the Mushroom Kingdom has never looked better, and the music from the 30 years of Mario video games has never sounded better, owing to the return of iconic composer Koji Kondo. Even if the story isn’t very strong, the comedy is never-ending thanks to standout performances from characters like Bowser’s masochistic sidekick Kamek and the infantile Lumalee, who surprises with her dark sense of humor.
The brilliant side-scrolling action sequences
It’s impossible to watch this movie without feeling a warm warmth of familiarity if you’ve played any Mario game (particularly Mario Kart) in the previous 30 years. Nevertheless, significantly, no prior knowledge was ever deemed to be essential to comprehend what was going on screen. The brilliant side-scrolling action sequences, the explosive trip over Rainbow Road, and even the trickier-to-translate components of Mario gameplay, like as power-ups, remain mostly faithful to their in-game selves.
It has been more than five years since Nintendo and Universal first announced their agreement to bring the Mario property to Universal’s amusement parks throughout the globe. And even though I haven’t been to Universal Studios in Japan or Hollywood yet, seeing the Super Mario Bros. Movie was almost as good as spending an hour or two there.
It’s no accident that the Mushroom Kingdom in this film looks much like the one you can visit and explore, nor that the second half of the film takes place in the Kong Kingdom, the next theme park region scheduled to open in Japan in 2024. Sure enough, after seeing the movie I was eager to return to the Mushroom Kingdom in video game form and leave the dreary streets of London behind. It’s fair to say that The Super Mario Bros.
While it may be unique for Miyamoto
We’ve come a long way since Bowser made a short appearance in Wreck-It Ralph, when Nintendo reportedly provided Disney with suggestions on how to properly depict Bowser clutching a teacup. While it may be unique for Miyamoto, Illumination’s interpretation of this universe, created hand in glove with him, unquestionably provides for greater flexibility. Maybe Nintendo is being cautious because of what happened the last time Mario was at a movie theater. This short is part of a very different period of Mario, set 30 years after the first game came out, yet Nintendo’s mascot is still as amusing as ever.
Yet for long portions of this movie, although the characters do communicate and interact in a manner that’s unlike other Mario games, very little of note actually spoken, which is unfortunate. Movie is only the beginning of a galaxy’s worth of sequels and spinoffs based on Nintendo’s mascot and the company’s games in general. Luigi, the coward almost immediately taken captive by Bowser’s goons, and it is up to Mario and Princess Peach (played by the bubbly Anya Taylor-Joy) to rescue him. In the meanwhile, Big Bad Bowser has designs on either marrying Princess Peach or, if that doesn’t work out, seizing control of the kingdom.