The Super Mario Bros. Movie Review
From Detective Pikachu to Sonic the Hedgehog, Arcane and beyond, we have been blessed with good to competent video game-adapted movies, but when Shigeru Miyamoto announced the Super Mario Bros. Movie during Nintendo Direct over a year and a half ago, starring, for some reason, Chris Pratt as the titular Italian plumber, I couldn’t believe what I was listening to. Once I snapped back into reality, skepticism set in. The rest of the star-studded cast were also confusing additions, outside Jack Black as Bowser and perhaps Seth Rogan as Donkey Kong, but another worry was Illumination, the animation company which hasn’t made a good movie since the original Despicable Me and made poor adaptations of The Grinch and The Lorax. With all these reservations taken into account, the movie turned out pretty well, for the most part. As far as faithful adaptations go Illumination did a terrific job, the design of the mushroom kingdom and the characters is great, the film is full of references to the Mario games from music choices, settings, costumes and characters in the background which was cool to see and was easily my favourite part of the film. While the world Illumination and directors Michael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath created works great, the script writers took a note from the 90’s Mario movie, for some reason, with a real-world tie-in. In a modern day, Brooklyn Mario and Luigi have started up their own plumbing business, and when the first job goes badly they stumble down a magical pipe and end up in the mushroom kingdom. They get separated with Luigi being kidnapped by Bowser and Mario winding up with Toad (voiced amazingly by Keegan-Michael Key) and Princess Peach, who goes on a quest to ally with “the Kong army” against Bowser. As far as the plot goes, there isn’t much going on but if you’re expecting a Shakespearian masterpiece from the Super Mario movie then you’re in the wrong place, the adventure is pretty fun to follow, going at breakneck speed it can be a bit disorienting but it mostly works for what it is. While it would have been fun to see Mario and Luigi interact more, Princess Peach and Donkey Kong were big favourites of mine, While it is slightly trivial to analyse an Illumination movie this much (which puts a capital k into “kids movies”) I also think it is important to highlight that kids' movies do not need to be brain-numbing juice. I am saying this because outside of children and people with a decent knowledge of Mario, this movie doesn’t exactly work. The attempts at appealing to adults are poorly placed and very forced pop music (the one exception involves Donkey Kong), but again it isn’t made for them, and a lot of people will have at least surface-level knowledge of Mario and they should have fun with this. So if you’re a Mario fan, like the other video game adaptations as of late, you’ll probably be very happy with this movie, while it could have been a lot better, what we got is pretty good, and since it will break $1 billion very soon we should, for better or worse, get ready for the inevitable future Nintendo movie adaptations.
Review by WackoFlipper