It’s finally here. The Super Mario movie adaptation, and of course… My Super Mario Film Review. Look, we introduced this movie almost 2 years ago, and yes. It’s finally in theaters, so, naturally, as any good old Super Mario Bros fan, I went out and saw it this past weekend.
I kinda had to. My childhood nostalgia for playing Super Mario on Super Nintendo was overwhelming me. And despite watching the movie with a bunch of 7-year-olds… I kinda enjoyed it too.
Look, we might not currently have Super Mario Bros right now at IndieGala (or any other Nintendo IPs for that matter). But we do have some awesome games that you need to check out in April. Like the RE4 remake here. Or Marvel’s Midnight Suns which is available here. Better yet, feel free to check out IndieGala’s website and browse your favorite games there. You can surely find something that it’s up your alley there.
But let me start from the top.
Super Mario Film Review: The Bar Was So Low?
You know I thought it would. Since I’m the child of the ’90s and I grew up with the 1993 movie adaptation. You know the one with Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi. And as much I can appreciate the visual innovations of the time, I cannot help but shutter at how bad that movie was. In fact, it was so bad that it put off Nintendo from making another Super Mario film adaptation. Or rather any other Nintendo game property adaptation until Pokémon: Detective Pikachu. And frankly, this particular movie didn’t have the best start either. Since it was announced that Chris Pratt would be voicing the iconic role. Having watched the movie, I can safely say that the fans were right. He’s not the best choice for this role. But I digress. First…
Let me first break down the essence of the 2023 animated movie.
What’s The Super Mario Film Review All About?
Well, as you can probably tell. It’s about Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day). Two plumbers from Brooklyn who decide to leave their steady job and start their own plumbing business. After watching a report about a manhole leak on the news, both of them will try to fix it. However, they’ll just get sucked into a Warp Pipe and then separated. Luigi ends up in the Dark Lands. While Mario ends up in the Magic Mushroom Kingdom. Now, the Dark Lands are ruled by the vicious and ruthless Bowser (Jack Black) while the Magic Mushroom Kingdom has Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) as a ruler. The thing is… Bowser is in love with Peaches and wants to… 1. Marry Peach. 2. Destroy the Mushroom Kingdom.
Peach and Mario on the other hand will seek help from Donkey Kong (Seth Rogan) in their fight against Bowser, but the help from the Jungle Kingdom will not come so easily. Super Mario will have to really fight before the final fight even begins.
A Cinematic Improvement? Or The Same Old Horrible Milking Of The Franchise?
Well, a little bit of both actually. But there’s no denying that although not perfect… The 2023 animated version is a vast improvement in the right direction. Better yet, here’s a good rule of thumb if this is a good kid’s movie. To my surprise, the 7-year-olds I was surrounded with at the movie theater actually enjoyed it. They weren’t bored and the movie even got applause from them at the end. The Beastie Boys, AC/DC, A-Ha and Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra really resonated with their Millennial parents.
But the kids really loved the vibrant, colorful and simplistic animation. And an even simpler plot. And I do mean simple. It was paper thin but in a good way. Enough to move the story along and not make the majority of the audience bored, cranky, or irritated. No, it was the opposite really. The kids sat in their chairs and we watched the movie in sheer delight. Again, to my surprise. So, I suppose the movie did the job. It entertained the junior part of the audience, and to my own delight even the senior part of it. Myself included. Look, it’s not a perfect Super Mario movie, but it did have its good and bad moments. Let me start with the good ones.
The Good And The Bad In One Place
As I mentioned earlier… Chris Pratt was not the wisest choice for this role. Jack Black and Charlie Day on the other hand? Perfect. Seriously. Especially Black who really pulled all the stops here. He was menacing and funny and seeing him here was another reason to adore his talent for comedy.
Keegan-Michael Key was great as Toad, but I can’t say the same about Seth Rogan’s Donkey Kong. Oh, and it was great to hear Charles Martinet’s voice here too. In the role of Mario and Luigi’s father of course. I don’t know if some of the cringy jokes are on the cutting floor, but I bet that they are. And not some, probably a lot. The script can really move the story along nicely, but I can see the moments where the screenwriters decided to play safe. Like in the simple, no-fuss, paint-by-numbers storyline that you can predict in the first 5 seconds of the scenes.
But I can see how they took risks at times The side-scrolling scenes at the beginning of the movie were great. And so were the Mario Kart chase scenes too. Not to mention some of the nods they took from the 1993 movie. Like the decision to make Luigi and Mario from Brooklyn again. Or travel through the interdimensional portal again. But yeah. All in all… This is a much more pleasant and kid-friendly adaptation of the game series. I think that some of the grown-ups enjoyed it too.
Super Mario Film Review: What Are Your Thoughts?
Did you liked? Or it was a hard pass for you? Let us know in the comment section.