The Super Mario Bros. Movie – Film Review

Directors: Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic

Writer: Matthew Fogel

Starring: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen

Rating: ★★★★

Thirty years after the often ridiculed (yet still has an incredibly devoted cult following) Super Mario Bros. film, a second adaptation of the long-running Nintendo series is here. This time around it’s an animated film from Illumination, the animation studio behind the Despicable Me series. It’s already doing better than the live-action one. In it’s first weekend the film has broken Frozen II’s record for biggest opening weekend for an animated film.

Mario and Luigi find a hidden tunnel in Brooklyn’s sewers and find a pipe that takes them to the Mushroom Kingdom. They get split up and Mario seeks the help of Princess Peach to help him find his brother, while Luigi is captured by Bowser who is heading to Princess Peach’s castle to ask her to marry him. It’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a Mario story, and it works. It’s a fun-filled adventure with plenty of laughs along the way.

With Illumination animating the film it’s not surprising that it’s visually stunning. The animation is bright and colourful, making the Mushroom Kingdom really come alive. The characters also look brilliant. There are even a few moments where the film turns into a side-scrolling platformer. There’s been a lot of talk about the cast, mostly about Chris Pratt not being right for Mario, and while it is a little strange to hear Pratt and Charlie Day voice the beloved Italian brothers for the first few scenes, it quickly becomes natural, and they are both brilliant in the roles. The rest of the cast are also brilliant, especially Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach and Jack Black as Bowser. There’s a song that Bowser sings about his love of Peach, which is one of the funniest bits of the film.  

For people who have played the Mario games and are well versed in Nintendo history, then there’s plenty of references scattered throughout the film from well-known sound cues to an arcade machine that looks a lot like the original Donkey Kong game named Jump Man (in the original DK game, Mario is known as Jump Man). They’re not distracting, and the film doesn’t rely on referential humour, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve never played a Mario game.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a blast for all ages, from start to finish. It’s one of the best video game adaptations ever made, and with the way the box office is going it looks like there’s a lot more Nintendo films to come. With things like the recent Sonic films and Detective Pikachu, the rule that video game films are always bad has been truly broken once and for all.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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3 Responses to The Super Mario Bros. Movie – Film Review

  1. Tony Briley says:

    Glad to see you and others praise this movie. My family has wanted to see it since we saw the first trailer. As you said, it is another addition to show that games to movies don’t always have to be broken. Thanks for the review, this is on our must-see list.

    Liked by 1 person

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