Sunday, June 16, 2024

Movie review: It’s a me, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”

MosaicMovie review: It’s a me, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”

BY DANNY TULL
Staff Writer




On April 7, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was released in cinemas across the globe. This animated adventure comedy from Nintendo and Illumination has been highly anticipated since it was announced in September 2021.

In the movie, Mario and Luigi (voiced by Christ Pratt and Charlie Day, respectively) are two brothers from Brooklyn, New York who have started a new career venture in plumbing. However, they are starting to have doubts on whether their business will be successful after a near death encounter with both a maniac dog and a flooded bathroom during a house call. Plus, a less-than-supportive family dinner just adds to their concerns that quitting their old job to become plumbers might have been a mistake.

When they find out that there’s a massive flood downtown, they see it as their opportunity to prove to themselves and their doubting family that they can be successful in their new endeavor. However, a chance encounter with a magical sewage pipe leads them into the fantastic world of the Mushroom Kingdom, with many of the bizarre creatures you may have seen in “The Super Mario Bros.” video games.  

At the beginning of the film, Luigi himself lands in the Dark Lands and is almost immediately captured by the film’s villain, the evil King Bowser (voiced by Jack Black). Similar to the games, Princess Peach (voiced by Anya Taylor Joy) and Toad (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) recruit Mario to save Luigi and stop the evil Bowser from using the Super Star to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom.

I was excited to see this movie because I have always been a huge fan of animation and have been playing “Mario Bros.” video games my entire life. My cousins and I would always play “Mario Party” on Wii and “Mario Kart” was a staple method for passing time on long bus rides to school in my adolescence. Just hearing about “Super Mario Bros.” in everyday conversation now brings to mind so many nostalgic memories. 

Some may wonder how this film compares to the 23 main Mario games and countless spin-offs within the “Super Mario Bros.” franchise. Well, for starters, this movie was a magnificently fun watch. Anything Mario-related was squeezed into this 92-minute cinematic joy ride. Visual references to the game included Yoshi’s running in the wilderness, the Donkey Kong country stadium battle, and the Mario Kart race scene. 

The music was effective in evoking the nostalgic feelings that many viewers likely have. The crowd in the theater, including my friends and I, could often be heard humming these catchy earworms hidden in the depths of our brains throughout the entirety of the film.

An especially memorable part of the film was Bowser singing a hilarious love ballad to Princess Peach, entitled “Peaches,” which is currently climbing to virality. The song has been in the music category of YouTube’s trending page, with Black’s music video garnering 14 million views at time of publication. As repetitive as the song is at first, one can really sense the sorrow Bowser has for his inability to be with his “true love.” He definitely does not deserve to be with her and Princess Peach could care less for him, but it was interesting to see that even selfish, tyrannical monsters have a heart too.

Something that the film did differently from the original games was having the famously unified Mario Brothers separated for the majority of the movie. The audience is shown their respective personalities and caring, brotherly dynamic through flashbacks and the character’s introduction before they are sucked into the pipe. The courageous Mario is doing most of the adventuring and searching the lands for the timid Luigi.

It was refreshing to see Mario have the goal of rescuing someone other than Princess Peach, who is a stranger to him. Mario rescuing Luigi felt more personal. I believe this helped Peach’s image of being more than just a damsel in distress. Rather, she was a general in the Mushroom Army. This is very empowering and explains why she decided to train Mario when he decided to join her on her quest. This is quite a progressive and polarizing change in the game’s story, mostly because most players of the game grew up with Mario defeating Bowser and rescuing Princess Peach over and over again. It felt like the heroic trio in the movie were growing and using their strengths and weaknesses, along with helpful power-ups, to come out victorious at the end of the day.

Pratt as Mario turned out to be a charming choice. Pratt brought the fighter-but-lover personality that he tends to bring to all his characters, which works well with the character’s can-do attitude. Even though Mario’s character is short in stature, Pratt’s confident voice and personality make him a bigger character. 

I give the “Super Mario Bros. Movie” 4.5 mushrooms out of 5. Jump up out of your classes and take the nearest sewer pipe to Main Street Movies 5 to give it a watch.

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