Plot via Rotten Tomatoes
With help from Princess Peach, Mario gets ready to square off against the all-powerful Bowser to stop his plans from conquering the world.
I’m not a gamer now. I don’t know and don’t care whether the graphics in The Super Mario Bros Movie are true to the games. The reviews from gamers who are also movie critics say it is. That’s enough for me. All I want is an entertaining adaptation that both stays in its lane and yet manages to expand it. My standards aren’t even that high. The critically reviled 1993 version, starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi, I remember fondly. I also whiled away many lonely college days in the mid 1970’s playing vast amounts of Donkey Kong and Mortal Kombat.
Illumination, the animation house of Universal, is famous for its attention to detail. I’m taking it on faith, that the Mushroom Kingdom, the magical land in which the film is set, is a faithful replica of the one in the game. And that all the Fireflowers, super stars and question mark boxes, the blue shell all look, sound and perform in the exact syncopation of the game play. Nintendo is a major producer, and I haven’t read of any blasphemous whining coming from their press division. Only Mario(Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) have been minorly updated. Their thick Italian accents have been replaced with Brooklyn ones.
What may have been perceived back then as simple Italian bluster, is now a badly worn ethnic stereotype. Thus the brothers are infused with the requisite gong ho determination and wide eyed optimism. Their superpowers are running, punching question mark boxes that rise them to the next game level— along with riding go karts with stuntman precision. It’s all done with the required Easter Eggs ands inside jokes— the Meta awareness that keep adults from tuning out. Only in the end, does competent plumbing become their final superpower.
Bowser (Jack Black), Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen), Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), and Toad (Kegan Michael Key) all get required subplots. The ending blends them all into the best display of game ever put on film. The movie earns enough fan game credits to make them want to spend them on the inevitable sequel.
The Super Mario Bros Movie gets a 3.5 out
of 5 or a B+.
- Universal Pictures
- April 5, 2023(United States)
- United States
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