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The Super Mario Bros. Movie (Review)



  • In the pizzeria scene, Mario and Luigi meet a character that looks similar to Mario playing the Donkey Kong arcade game called Jump Man. The actor who voiced Jump Man is none other than Charles Martinet who also voiced Mario in the Super Mario games.

 
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie is riddled with nods to past and present video games. One of the more notable call backs is the ad for the Mario Bros. Plumbing service which the song comes from the intro of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. Jeannie Elias, the original voice of Princess Peach in the cartoon, also makes an appearance as the woman in the ad that greets Mario and Luigi.

 
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie is the second time a Mario movie has been made. The first time was in 1993 when Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo starred as Mario and Luigi in Super Mario Bros.

 
  • This is the third time Bowser has appeared in a movie. The first time was when Dennis Hopper played as King Koopa in the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie. The second time was in Disney's Wreck-It Ralph when Bowser made a short cameo appearance at a villains anonymous meeting where villains of their respective games gather for emotional support after being scrutinized just for playing their roles.


Review:


At a time when two brothers struggle to start up their own business, Mario finds himself in a fantastical world in turmoil. With the help from Toad, Princess Peach, and Donkey Kong, Mario must save his brother Luigi from Bowser and his army of koopas and goombas.


It has been 30 years since the titular brothers have appeared on the big screen. Ever since the live action adaptation in 1993, many people believed Nintendo would never allow any movie studios adapt any of their video games again. Then, the movie was first announced in 2021 in a Nintendo Direct presentation revealing the actors for The Super Mario Bros. Movie leaving many people questioning if this movie was a joke. The movie has finally arrived and many people are wondering if this movie is actually good. I can say that this was actually a really fun ride and most of the cast did really well voicing their characters.


Pros:


Mario and Luigi begin their plumbing business.
Chris Pratt as Mario and Charlie Day as Luigi in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

To get this out of the way, I was one of the people that did not like Chris Pratt's voice for Mario, at first. I thought the voice was just Chris Pratt playing Chris Pratt just based on what I heard from the previews. After seeing the movie, his voice for Mario is actually better than I expected. Sure, it's not the "boing-boing-wahoo" voice from Charles Martinet nor the heavy New Yorker accent from Bob Hoskins or Lou Albano, but Pratt finds a way to make his voice for Mario his own that balances the best of both worlds of creativity and what fans expect Mario to sound. Mario in this movie is like Mario in the games where he always runs forward towards the goal, but we see a side of Mario we don't see in the games. He is desperate and get put down by his family and his former boss. When it comes to his brother, Luigi, being picked on that counts as crossing the line to Mario. He is not afraid to protect his little brother and will do whatever it takes to save him. So I am pleased with Chris Pratt's performance as Mario overall.


Charlie Day does a little similar to Chris Pratt as the voice of Luigi, but the New Yorker accent is thicker giving Luigi a lot of personality. Luigi in the movie is akin to the video game counterpart. He is a scaredy cat and always looks up to his brother Mario to save him. When push comes to shove and Mario is the one in danger, Luigi manages to muster up the courage to save his brother and the people he cares for most.


Anya Taylor-Joy voices Princess Peach for this film. Her voice for the character was about what I expected and it fits pretty good. I like how Peach plays a more active role in the movie. Princess Peach has had active roles in games before. She was playable in Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario RPG, in most of the Super Smash Bros. games, in the Mario Kart series, and in her own game Super Princess Peach. The character has had games where she took a more active role than just being the damsel in distress and it is reflected here in this movie as the leader of the Mushroom Kingdom and Mario's mentor.


Bowser begins his conquest to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom.
Jack Black as Bowser in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

The most impressive voice acting I will have to give credit to is Jack Black as Bowser. Jack Black has voiced characters in the past which he has just used his natural voice. His performance as Bowser has proven to be his best yet. As the villain, I expected the king of the koopas to have a deep, monstrous voice that sends shivers and Black was able to deliver making me believe that I am watching Bowser on screen. I will even go on to say that the funny parts with Bowser are the funniest parts in the whole movie. Anything that shows Bowser's infatuation with Peach are so funny that it had me crying.


The visuals are mind-blowing. To make the world of Mario come to life from Brooklyn to the Mushroom Kingdom was the real challenge for Illumination. However, everything in the movie with all of the worlds and kingdoms the movie presents looked really natural and life-like. If you ever played a Mario game, you know the games have a lot of platforming levels that does not always make sense with the floating blocks, moving platforms, and power ups. Yet Illumination were able to find a way to make all of that work naturally by having those levels look like a training course that Mario is put through by Princess Peach.


In terms of fan service, The Super Mario Bros. Movie has an over-abundance of references to Mario's games ranging from the past to the present. Whether it is the music, the attire, the stores in the backdrop of certain scenes, or even cameo actors from the games and cartoons there is just so much to take in that one blink and you could miss it. If you are a fan of Mario or Nintendo in general, the movie is jam-packed with references. Even if you know only a little bit about Mario, you can find some nostalgic moments when you hear certain songs playing or recognizing some of the power ups.


Mixed:


Toad and Peach make their stand against Bowser and his army.
Keegan-Michael Key as Toad and Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach

Keegan-Michael Key's interpretation of Toad was good. He sounded like Toad without having to sound so high pitched like in the games. Even though Toad is the first character Mario is introduced to when he arrives in the Mushroom Kingdom he is more of a third wheel that is just there to be Mario's and Peach's aid. He didn't get any time to give a reason why he decided to go with Peach and Mario other than the movie called for him to be there. He could've stayed behind and watched over the Mushroom Kingdom while Peach and Mario went on the adventure and Toad's role in the movie would not have changed at all. Great voice acting by the actor, but I didn't really care about Toad as a character.


The music choices for the movie are good while others could have been better. I love how the classic music from the games are integrated into the movie that I really loved hearing. Especially at the climax when Mario and Luigi are powered up with the power star and the music that plays is was just amazingly nostalgic to listen to. At the same time, there are also 80's songs that could have either worked better in another scene or just didn't work at all.


Cons:


Mario and Donkey Kong meet for the first time in the battle arena.
Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

When it comes to Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, this was the biggest miss for me. Every time DK spoke all I hear is Seth Rogen and he is just being Seth Rogen, which did not sit right with me. He even admitted he was not going to do anything creative with the voice of DK and that is a huge misstep on his part. I think if he came up with a new voice for DK or gave DK a deeper voice then I would be okay with his performance. However, Seth Rogen has proven as usual that he has no talent.


Pacing of the movie did feel really rushed. It seemed as though Illumination had a list to check off of events that needed to happen just so they can get to the climax. There are moments where I do think could have been given a bit more time to allow the story to breathe and develop the characters more. At the same time, Illumination and Nintendo knows who their audience is and the main audience is children. So while rushing from point A to point B hurt the movie's story for me, I understand that this was done to keep the children engaged.


Final Thoughts:


The Super Mario Bros. Movie knows the audience is meant for kids with an over-abundance of video game references for the fans. While it was very fast paced with so much happening, this movie was still a lot of fun to watch and the movie showed that Illumination really did their homework with the worlds and characters in this film. With Seth Rogen as the exception, most of the cast was great and I found myself really liking Chris Pratt voicing as Mario overall. If you decide to see this movie, make sure to stay for the mid-credits scene and the post-credits scene.


What are your thoughts on The Super Mario Bros. Movie? Did you enjoy the movie? What did you like or didn't like about the movie? Leave a comment of your thoughts in the comments section. Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Minds, MeWe, Gab, and TRUTH Social to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.

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