The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) Review
AN ANIMATED “PIPE DREAM” OF NINTENDO
NOSTALGIA AND RAMBUNCTIOUS FUN!
Since the early days of video games in the 1980s, the character of Mario, the Nintendo flagship character of its console brand, has certainly a had celebrated lifespan and no plans for stopping anytime soon. The little Italian plumber man and his capability of jumping, dodging, and wielding various “power ups” and taking a simple narrative of a “damsel in distress” premise by Princess Peach Toadstool from the evil clutches of the ferocious King Bowser and has transformed into a thriving media juggernaut in the various “Super Mario” video games series. New stories, new avenues, new characters, and new games has flourished from Nintendo in an expansive gaming genres, including platforming, RPGs, racing, sports, party games, and several others, transforming a video game franchise into a brand name. Furthermore, the iconic video game character leaped off the Nintendo console to become a fandom obsession to the masses for generations in other outlets, including TV, books, theme park attractions, and (important for this review), a film adaptation. 1993’s Super Mario Bros, which was directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel and starred Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Hopper, was one of the earliest attempts at a film adaptation for a video game and the results were definitely divided. To some, the experience was a daring example of reimagining such an iconic property in a live-action cineamtic treatment, while many found the project to be a cringe-worthy bacterization of Nintendo’s source material. Naturally, Super Mario Bros. was a critical and commercial flop at the box office, with Nintendo shunning any thought of future prospects of translating their popular video game characters to the big screen. Now, following the success of 2019’s Pokémon: Detective Pikachu run at the box office (and the positive reviews it received), Nintendo opens up the warp pipes once again for moviegoers to partake in everyone’s favorite Italian plumber as Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment, and directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic release the movie The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Is this second attempt at the beloved video game character worth a look or does it suffer the same fate as its predecessors as being a terrible video game film adaptation?
Two Brooklyn Italian-American brothers are hoping to make their plumbing business a reality, but for Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) find themselves in dismayed when a simple repair fix ends in disaster, which brings little hope for their future prospects. Hoping to prove their worth, the brothers jump at the opportunity to fix massive pipe leak underneath the streets of Brooklyn. Unfortunately, the siblings get more than what they were bargained for, with the pair falling through a warp tunnel connected to the Mushroom Kingdom, a magical and wonderous realm where fantastical things are around every corner. Here, the brothers learn of Bowser (Jack Black), a ruthless tyrant who is looking to claim dominion to all in the hopes to claim the heart of one Princess Peach Toadstool (Anya Taylor-Joy), finding her determined to refuse his matrimonial offer. Upon arriving, the brothers are separated, with Luigi becoming a prisoner for Bowser, while Mario, who is guided by Toad (Keegan-Michael Key) to Peach. Looking to find a way home and to save his brother from captivity, Mario gears up to take on their enemy, with the newcomer in need of training to navigate the world’ s strange magic and platform finesse challenges of his new surroundings, finding trouble around every corner, while Peach looks to protect her kingdom, seeking aid from the nearby Kong army to support her fight against of Bowser’s army.
THE GOOD / THE BAD
Growing up in the late 80s and 90s era of my youth (childhood and teenager years), I saw the rise in popularity of video games and their various iconic flagship characters that the consoles were building around, including Mega Man, Sonic, Zelda, Mortal Kombat, and (of course) Mario. My grandmother owned an original Nintendo console, which she had the original Super Mario Bros. game as well as Super Mario Bros. 3, which I found quite challenging to play in my younger years. My family eventually got a Super Nintendo and purchased Super Mario World and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars; both games I fell in love with and my appreciation for the characters of Nintendo’s flagship mascot. Naturally, over the years, as video game consoles were developed in the so-called “console wars”, I played most of the mainline Mario games, including Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Odyssey just to name a few, while also played some of the “party games” that featured Mario like Mario Kart (all of its variations), Mary Party, and Super Smash Bros. So, it goes without saying that I was quite well-versed on Mario property and a lot of the supporting characters therein. Heck, I even remember watching The Super Mario Show, the hybrid TV show that had live-action segments as well as animated shorts. I don’t exactly much of the live-action bits, but (of course) remember more of the cartoon parts, which were fun to watch in the early 90s. Of course, I remember watching the 1993 live-action film Super Mario Bros. and I had mixed feeling about it. I mentioned this a lot in my “cineamtic flashback” review of the movie, so I won’t go into much details. Suffice to say, that I felt that it was somewhat good when I was younger, especially since seeing the likes of Mario, Luigi, Koopa, and Yoshi in a live-action adaptation, but the movie itself didn’t do the source material justice. Thus, 1993’s Super Mario Bros. was a somewhat of a cautionary tale for video game film adaptation and prompted Nintendo to close off most of the intellectual properties from being adapted. Heck, I’m waiting to see A Legend of Zelda movie ever materializes. Now, that….would be awesome. In the end, the palpable popularity of Mario has endured throughout the years in the realm of video games as well as further extending its reach into other media facets in one of gaming most cherished character from Nintendo.
This brings me back to talking about The Super Mario Bros. Movie, a 2023 animated cartoon film from Illumination Entertainment and the second attempt at a Hollywood movie studio trying to bring the iconic and beloved world of Super Mario to the big screen. As stated, I was definitely always curious to see what a new Super Mario movie would look like in today’s landscape….. be it live-action or animated. Of course, with such failure of the 1993 film, such ideas seems very unlikely. That was until Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto became interested once again a new film adaptation for the character and met with Illumination Entertainment found Chris Meldeandri in 2016, with a firm deal reached to collaborate together two years later. Naturally, such details didn’t come immediately to light, but when it did, it was big news to many across the globe, with the internet exploding with such talk of another Super Mario Bros. movie, which was being planned as an animated feature. Of course, Illumination Entertainment has become quite an animated studio juggernaut with a lot of memorable releases, including the Despicable Me movies, the Minions spin-off endeavors, The Secret Life of Pets series, and the Sing franchise.
So, the property was definitely (in my opinion) in the right hands. Yet, there was always that lingering doubt, especially with such details on what they movie was going to be about (assuming it was going to be an origin tale of some kind) and how the characters and concepts of translating the video game source material into a feature film would handle. There was a few snippets here and there that were teased over the next year or so, including first movie posters showcasing Mario and Luigi as well as the film’s casting announcement, which boasts a large selection of recognizable talents (i.e Pratt, Day, Black, Taylor Joy, Key, Rogen, etc.). Next, the film’s movie trailers showcased exactly what fans of the video games really wanted to see, with such details of the famous characters as well as few glimpses of references to the video games themselves. There was definitely a nostalgia factor I got while watching the trailers every now and again, with the promise something really exciting. The lingering doubt still continued to linger, especially film adaptation of video game properties have really broke the supposed “curse” and never to rise beyond mediocre levels. However, I was still quite optimistic about this project and was quite excited to see this movie. So, I decided to check out the movie during its opening night and try to get my review done for it as quickly as possible, while everything was fresh in my mind. And what did I think of it? Well, I really liked it. Despite a few minor nitpicks with its story and some overloading moments of fan service, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a fantastic and visually colorful animated feature that delivers on its promise of making a cartoon feature on the iconic Nintendo character for a dazzling endeavor of flashy movement as well as wholesome fun all the way around. It dips a bit too much in the fan service territory and moves too fast at times, but the entire project is for the fans of the games, regardless if you played the older games or the new ones. It’s the movie that everyone wanted to see in a film adaptation of Super Mario Bros…..and then some!
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is directed by Aaron Horvath, whose previous works include such projects as Teen Titans Go!, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, and Unikitty!, and Michael Jelenic, whose previous works include such endeavors as Teen Titans Go!, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Given their history of working on various animated projects as well as the familiarity of collaborating together in the Teen Titans Go! Franchise, Horvath and Jelenic seem like a suitable duo to helm such an animated feature film on the Super Mario Bros. franchise tag by bring the right amount of respect for the source material as well as making the whole experience memorable. To that end, I think that both directors succeed in shaping the movie to both of those counts. Of course, it’s also to keep in mind that Nintendo themselves, unlike the 1993 live-action film, were much more heavily involved on the project, for it’s quite clear from the character depictions, cameo appearances, and various sound effects and musical flourishes. As stated, the video game company giant been has quite reluctant to have one of their IPs reimagined as a film adaptation since the 1993 film flopped, so (of course) they must have had a lot more “involvement” with The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which is quite visible throughout. Horvath and Jelenic also seem to respect Nintendo’s wishes and handled their source material with the upmost respect and positioned the movie to include the representation that the video game studio wanted. The result is something that delivers on that premise, with the movie approaching the source material in a faithful and playful manner, which feels much more genuine and entertaining that what the 1993 film was able to manage.
Thus, the collaboration with Nintendo is well-met in the movie, with Horvath and Jelenic approach the movie as a somewhat origin tale, introducing Mario and Luigi in sort of “fish out water” narrative framework as they met and fight in this strange new land of incredible powers and fearsome menaces. It also helps that Horvath and Jelenic, from the past endeavors, know what type of target audience that they are trying to reach and make the movie that much more enjoyable through the various comedic parts that scattered throughout the movie. Of course, this is a kid’s movie, which means a lot of the low-brow humor, but some were actually pretty good with numerous sight / physical gags as well as some zippy one-liners and a few callbacks from the video game themselves. Also, the film’s action is pretty good, which involves a lot of the familiar tropes from the Mario game themselves, with Horvath and Jelenic staging several key moments that certainly have fun replicating the onslaught of enemies encounters that is combined with several platform maneuvering. It’s all conjured in a way that feels quite frenzy, but in a good way, which showcases the fun and enjoyment of the video game source material and keeps the feature moving at a brisk pace.
In addition, the story, which was penned by Matthew Fogel, takes a more direct approach with the narrative, which can be both a good and bad thing (more on that below). Yet, it’s quite clear that the story being told (like Horvath and Jelenic) is made for younger audiences, which is not a bad thing at all. The Mario games (for the most part) have always been geared towards the younger crowd (juice box to tween age range), so it sort of makes sense that the movie is catered towards that crowd. Thus, the reflection of the movie’s story falls in-line with that notion as it is a basic premise with a lot of movement and fighting happening. It’s not the most deepest story out there in a cartoon film as well as playing it safe at times, yet Fogel’s work speaks for the movie and the letting the animation have fun with this video game translation and presentation. It’s a tried and true Super Mario plot….it just works as simple as that. All in all, I felt that Horvath and Jelenic did quite an impressive job with The Super Mario Bros. Movie, especially with the pressure from Nintendo to fully represent their iconic Mascot the right way (of which they did…immensely). It’s always entertaining (something to see, do, or experience), never dull, always on the move, and always choke full of fun and amusement in almost every scene. It’s a video game movie done right….no matter which way you slice it.
Of course, this brings up the noticeable cameos, callbacks, and references that appear in and out of the feature’s story. While there are a bit too much to go around, they are definitely a treat of video game nostalgia whenever they appear. Some (of course) are a little bit more subtle than others, while other ones are quite obvious to recognize. Regardless, they are a lot of fun to point out and have that reminiscent feeling, especially for anyone whose played a Super Mario game (old ones or new ones). Definitely put a smile and / or made me laugh when I spotted them. Naturally, the amount of fan service is heavily palpable in The Super Mario Bros. Movie and will surely please anyone looking for that nostalgia factor. There are times where some moments do get carried away and are merely there for a visual fan service scenes, including the famous inclusion of Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road sequence. It’s definitely fun and visually great to see, but doesn’t really amount to much in the way of the story of the feature. Moments like those should’ve been saved for another movie (at least in my opinion). Still, for better or worse, fans looking for those Easter eggs references and callbacks to the Mario games are in for a “power up” delight in the film, with Horvath and Jelenic (as well as Nintendo themselves) letting this animated movie run amok with a façade of video game nostalgia….and that’s kind of good thing.
In the feature’s presentation, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is absolutely and hands down a visually stunning animated film that is the best that Illumination Entertainment has ever produced. Usually, the studio’s cartoon production have always been very vibrant and colorful throughout their endeavor features, with The Super Mario Bros. Movie showcasing the best that the animated studio has to offer, with such bright and luminous coloring of various objects, characters, and background. In addition, Illumination Entertainment has always been known for generating such intricate physical details within their various characters (be it major or minor ones) via body motion and / or facial expression. Thus, to lend their expertise in bring such memorable Nintendo video game characters to the big screen is some impressive work by the digital artisans. Every detail of how the character looks (size and shape) and facial movements are superb all the way around. Great job! Thus, all the film’s “behind the scenes” team from the art department to animators should be commended for their efforts on the feature and bring to life these beloved Nintendo characters (and landscape) in such gorgeous way that is a visual feast for the eyes.
In addition, the film’s sound department team, including Daniel Laurie, Jacob Riehle, and Randy Thom, is excellent throughout the entire film, especially since you hear all the iconic sounds from the Super Mario games, including the jump sounds, brick breaking, and other famously heard sound bites from the classic games. Even beyond those points, the sound mixing and editing for the feature is quite good and helps build upon the feature’s world from Bowser’s booming footsteps to whooshing sounds of characters zooming by on karts down Rainbow Road. While I usually don’t mention this particular category that often in my reviews for movies, I do mention it when it becomes a credible part of my likeability towards the project. Thus, big kudos to the sound department in what they were able to achieve on this movie. Lastly, the movie’s score, which was composed by Brian Tyler, is fantastic from beginning to end. It’s filled such grandiosity and bombastic feeling throughout that helps the feature explode off-screen within Tyler’s musical composition. In addition, Tyler’s score utilizes a lot of Koji Kondo’s classic Mario themes that are scattered throughout the feature, which is delightful treat to hear them in the film and how Tyler himself incorporates it and rearranged it. The result is something truly spectacular to hear and the film’s score is definitely a beautiful soundtrack….even for an animated film.
There are some problems that I noticed that The Super Mario Bros. Movie can’t overcome, which results in a few wonky moments here and there and some criticism drawing towards the film’s shaping. What do I mean? Well, for starters, the movie’s plot is rather simplistic and lacks substance in several few crucial areas. Of course, much like the earlier Super Mario games, the film doesn’t have a very deep or engaging narrative to tell, with the cartoon feature replicating that notion of a very rudimentary plot for us (the viewers) to follow along. Naturally, this movie is made for kid’s in mind, so a lot of story beats are presented in a way for them to follow and enjoy. Because of this notion, the story for The Super Mario Bros. Movie is rather basic and goes a little too light on certain scenes and scenarios that play out throughout the feature’s rather brisk runtime (more on that below). Particular narrative and plot beats are very simple and doesn’t have a whole lot going on beyond Mario’s quest to find / rescue the brother as well as Peach’s determination to stop Bowser’s conquest. There’s definitely (at times) when one can easily see story substance that could’ve been easily interjected into the plot, which would of bolstered the narrative in a better and more well-rounded way. Just because it is a kid’s movie doesn’t mean that would’ve been beneficial for more storytelling beats in the overall arc plot.
Coinciding with that, the movie itself moves at a rather brisky pace (as mentioned above) and, while that can be both a good or bad thing (depending on the viewer), the negative side of it is that it lacks at time for the feature (and the characters) to “breath”, with Horvath and Jelenic’s keeping everything moving in a rather rushed manner. This results in the movie lacking that certain type of finesse and feels like everything happens too fast-paced and not enough for character growth / reflection. There were times where I felt that movie could’ve expanded upon some certain ideas and added an additional scene here and there to help bolster character motivation and / or made the entire endeavor a good ten or so minutes longer, while also reworking a few scenes (a scene in the beginning of the movie felt a little bit drawing out involving the Bros. working on a bathroom plumbing). It is because of this that most of the characters, while genuinely fun, are rather broad and more theatrically bold within their video game translation. This particular point of criticism didn’t necessarily bother me as much as I went into the movie sort of expect this, but I know that some people were looking for a bit more (dynamic) character range in some of these iconic video game characters. In addition, the movie also does lack a good strong thematic message to walk away with this. Naturally, I wasn’t expecting something like Disney or Pixar endeavor, which usually delivers a poignant meaning, but Illumination Entertainment has offered (in the past) some good, wholesome messages in the animated undertaking as seeing in The Grinch, Sing, and Despicable Me. The Super Mario Bros. Movie, while not the most heartfelt and / or “feel good” movie to come out of children’s entertainment, definitely showcased signs of some of these thematic message, yet doesn’t go beyond that the more common tropes of “we can do anything if we work together”. While this may be a little bit of nitpick criticisms, there are genuine moments in the movie where the show some motivation and heartfelt commentary, especially into two flashbacks scenes. It’s just a little bit of shame because what’s presented in those two scenes could’ve easily been expanded upon in way that could’ve given a better context to some of the characters.
What definitely helps overlook those points of criticisms is the film’s voice cast, which is excellent across the board, and having some capable and talented individuals to bring these Nintendo characters to life in a fun and energetic way. Leading the charge in the movie and headlining the feature as the main protagonist character is actor Chris Pratt, who provides the voice for the titular video game mascot character of Mario. Pratt, who is known for his work in the Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World, and The LEGO Movie, has certainly become a wide popular actor over the years and becoming a more and charismatic leading man in many of his film projects. Thus, it comes at no surprise that Pratt would be headlining a cartoon lead role once again and surely does deliver on very solid performance in the role of Mario. Of course, this brings up the whole controversy of Pratt doing the voice for Mario and not someone who is ethnically Italian (correspond to the character) or even voice by longtime video game voice for the character Charles Martinet. Does Pratt sound like an Italian American born in the movie? Well, not exactly, but I don’t find it a big deal. Pratt does good (in my opinion) and brings a lot of energy to the character, whose goes on a very straightforward narrative of self-discovery and self-worth (and that’s fine). So, those worried about it, I didn’t bother me at all and I don’t think that many will be bothered by it as well. Overall, I felt that Pratt did I good job as Mario and proves that he still can handle an animated cartoon character voice with good timing and loveable angsts.
Behind Mario, actor Charlie Day does the vocal performance for the character of Luigi, Mario’s brother, in the movie. Day, who is known for his roles in Horrible Bosses, Pacific Rim, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, has always a very comedic charm throughout most of his endeavors as been a fast-talking character with some slapstick physical gags. His performance in The Super Mario Bros. Movie is indeed a welcome sight and speaks to Day’s catalogue with his high-pitched squeaks when he gets excitable. Yet, there is still an underling different tone with Luigi, in comparison to Pratt’s Mario, which definitely fits the character. The only problem that I have with Luigi in the movie is that he isn’t in much of the middle portion of the feature, which serves as a huge chunk of the feature. It felt like the script had indeed planned something for him to do during this portion, but was cut out due for a much more tighter runtime. What’s in the film still works, but I kind of wished that Luigi had more to do. Prehaps they are saving it for another movie (a possible sequel) or maybe a spin-off (maybe a Luigi’s Mansion type project). Also, of the main roster of characters, actress Anya Taylor-Joy provides the voice for Princess Peach Toadstool, the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom and who becomes a companion with Mario on his journey. Taylor-Joy, who is known for her roles in The Menu, Queen’s Gambit, and Emma., has become a widely known actress, whose projects definitely speak for herself. Thus, to have her inclusion in The Super Mario Bros. Movie is quite a treat and I think that she handles the part well. Apart from a few games in the series, the character of Princess Peach has always been somewhat “damsel-in-distress” archetype of the narrative, so it’s kind of nice to see the character have a bit more to do in the story. Plus, Taylor-Joy definitely gives off a very strong and determined voice for Peach, which (again) speaks to the character itself and to the modern age. All in all, both Day and Taylor-Joy are quite good in their respective character roles.
Overshadowing these particular main players in the movie would definitely have to be the character of Bowser, the film’s main antagonist character and who is voiced by actor Jack Black. Much like the other Mario characters, Bowser has been most of the time the main bad guy that Mario and his friends have to defeat in each of the games, so it was definitely a forgone conclusion that the character would be the “big bad” in this movie. From the visual detail alone, Bowser in The Super Mario Bros. Movie is fantastic and he is clearly everything that made him a formidable villain. He’s big, furious, and has his mind set on marrying Princess Peach as well as claiming all underneath his dominion. So, from a character’s translation point of view, the movie nails it. What’s even better than that is that Black, who is known for his roles in School of Rock, Kung Fu Panda, and King Kong, is involved on this project and certainly brings his charismatic and comedic charm to the proceedings. He’s loud, boisterous, and almost downright funny at times, which makes the combination of him as a bad guy that much more endearing. Black influences the iconic Bowser with his own personality, which makes for such a memorable capture of the Nintendo baddie. Plus, the song “Peaches” that he sings in the film is hilarious. All in all, no matter what a person might think of the film or other cast members who provide voice work for these video game characters, there’s simply no denying the fact that Jack Black perfectly embodies his interpretation of the character of Bowser in the film and ends up being the most memorable one of their cast. In addition, voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson (Lilo & Stitch and Young Justice) provides a fun and even-keel performance as Kamek, a Koopa sorcerer and Bowser’s advisor / informant.
For the more supporting players in the movie, the film boast plenty of side characters that help bolster the main roster of characters, with most being recognizable players from the Nintendo franchise. This includes actor Keegan-Michael Key (Keanu and The Predator) as fast-talking companion to both Mario and Peach named Toad, actor Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live and Portlandia) as the ruler of the Jungle Kingdom and commander of the Kong Army called Cranky Kong (also labeled as DK’s father rather than in the video games as his grandfather), and actor Seth Rogen (Super Bad and Steve Jobs) as the powerful and strong gorilla and heir to the throne of the Jungle Kingdom Donkey Kong. These characters, who are famously known in their respective Nintendo realm of video games, are clearly represented in the feature with a much more broader stroke of characterization. Not that I was expecting them to be completely well-rounded with intricate backstory details, but these characters are great comical relief as well as for visual sight gags, which is clearly represented in the film as well as the capable and humorous voice talents behind them. All around, these characters are great supporting players. Also, I forgot to mention that the character of Lumalee, one of the prisoner that Bowser has captured, is one of the best supporting characters in the film. While the appearance in the overall story is small, but Lumalee, who is voiced by Juliet Jelenic, is hilarious whenever appearing on-screen and spouts some of the most hilarious lines of depressive melancholy nuances that will instantly make you laugh.
Rounding out the rest of the cast includes actor Sebastian Maniscalco (Green Book and The Irishman) as Mario / Luigi’s former boss Spike, actor Khary Payton (The Walking Dead and Teen Titans Go!) as the Penguin King, actor Eric Bauza (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Mighty Ones) as Toad General, actor Rino Romano (Curious George and Resident Evil 4) as Uncle Tony, actor John DiMaggio (Futurama and Adventure Time) as Uncle Arthur, and actress Jessica DiCicco (The Loud House and Adventure Time) as Mario / Luigi’s mom as minor supporting characters in the film. Of course, most of these characters have small parts in the film, but still offer up colorful and solid voice acting in whatever capacity their characters’ screen time is. In addition, renowned voice actor for Mario (in the video games) Charles Martinet makes a cameo appearance in the film as both Mario / Luigi’s dad as well as Brooklyn resident Giuseppe.
Lastly, the film does have two post credit scenes at the end of the film, with one being a mid-credit one and the other appearing at the very end of said credits. While I won’t spoil what is shown during those two particular scenes, both are fun little additional scenes, with one specifically teases what (or rather who) is possibly coming in the potential sequel installment (if one ever materializes, which is almost a forgone conclusion).
Unwillingly warped into another world and on a mission to save his brother, Mario embarks upon a quest to discover his true potential as a hero as well as stopping the evil tyranny of Bowser in the movie The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Director Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic’s latest film takes Nintendo’s beloved Italian plumber (and all of his friends and enemies) and translates it into an animated cinematic endeavor that will surely please longtime fans of the video game character. While the feature skimps on story substance and moves a little bit too fast-paced, the movie is an explosive cartoon tale of an epic spectacle, including the production’s direction, wonderful animation, a fantastic score, great visual moments, a strong and likeable cast of both characters and acting talents (with special praise for Black’s performance), and (most importantly) faithful to it’s video game source material. Personally, I really liked this movie. Yes, it had some problems with this narrative telling and some moments offered nothing that just extended fan-services quips and depictions, but the end result is something truly wonderful, fun, and just a downright treat for anyone who’s played a Mario game….at any point of your life. Thus, my recommendation for this movie is a highly favorable “highly recommended”, especially for a kid-friendly feature project for the whole family as well as the fans of the Mario games (again, no matter how old you are). The conclusion of the picture leaves the door open for a continuation sequel installment in the near future that, given the positive reviews for the movie as well as wealthy of source material that Nintendo has added over the years for Mario and friends, this idea a Super Mario Bros. Movie 2 almost seems like a nearly guaranteed. I, for one, would love to see it and to see such interesting ideas from the long-running franchise play a part in the narrative, including Wario, Rosalina, and even Geno. In the end, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, while not the most ingenious story to come out of a video game film adaptation, ends up to being the most entertaining of those endeavors and manages to rise to the challenge and overcome its misgivings by generating a visually animated “pipe dream” of Nintendo nostalgia and rambunctious fun for all ages!
4.3 Out of 5 (Highly Recommended)
Released On: April 5th, 2023
Reviewed On: April 9th, 2023
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is 92 minutes long and is rated PG for action and mild violence
Thanks for an insightful and fun review, Jason! Our family has been wanting to see this since we first saw the trailer, and while it looked good, there’s always that fear the transition from game to screen will flop like so many others (and flop big like many of the screen to game). I’m happy to read this one doesn’t disappoint and will be sure the kids get to see it.
That’s great to hear! It was definitely a safe (and entertaining) family movie for everyone to watch. Those who didn’t grow up with Mario might not get as much mileage from it than those who played the games. Still, it’s definitely a fun movie to watch.
Thanks for an insightful and fun review
You’re welcome! And thank you for reading!