The Super Mario Bros Movie is Surprisingly Good

Here we are. After a marathon of a dozen bad animated kids movies – and a revisit to one of the worst live-action film adaptations of all time – we’re finally covering the Super Mario Bros movie. Was it worth all that preparation? Or is it just another mind-numbing Illumination flick?

Bruh, are you kidding? It’s Nintendo. If they half-assed it again, the big N would have burned them to the ground or worse. So, with a little supervision and actual effort, we got an actually good, enjoyable movie!

Mario and Luigi are down on their luck after starting their own plumbing business in Brooklyn. Just when it seems things can’t get any worse for them, the two are sucked down a magic pipe and end up separated in another world! Now, in order to save his brother, Mario must go on a thrilling adventure through the Mushroom Kingdom and defeat the King of the Koopas, Bowser.

This movie is stuffed to the brim with classic Nintendo references and Easter eggs. Not just to Mario media, but to other franchises, like the Donkey Kong Country games, Kid Icarus, and Star Fox. There’s even a scene that’s basically just Luigi’s Mansion… just without the mansion. If you’re a diehard fan of their IPs, this movie is bound to put a smile on your face.

The actual plot isn’t exceptionally complicated. It’s your standard animated kids plot; fish out of water protagonist, menacing bad guy, save the world, yadda yadda yadda. And that’s fine! It’s not like Mario games are known for their complex or interesting narratives.

Personally, the thing I was most surprised by in this movie was Mario and Luigi themselves. The film actually took time to establish their relationship and get us invested in it. You actually feel for both of them when the plot gets going; you want to see them both succeed not because you recognize them from the games, but because these versions of the characters are likable and relatable.

All the characters made the transition to film perfectly, even if they’re not one-to-one with their in-game counterparts. Bowser is just as charming as he is menacing. Peach has dropped the ‘princess damsel in distress’ for a sweet but tough badass. Donkey Kong is a brain-dead brute who shows off more than the average WWE star. They’re all fun takes on the characters we all grew up with.

In terms of animation, this movie completely blows every other Illumination film out of the water! The characters are all detailed and expressive, giving us some great new designs for Mario and all the rest. In motion, everything is cartoony and exaggerated, making full use of the medium to give us some really fun and creative visuals. Combined with the amazing environments and the fantastic use of lighting and you get a really pretty animated movie!

The music is a mixed bag. When it actually uses Mario music, it’s amazing; they find cool and clever ways to bring the old tracks to life without shoving them down your throat. But the rest of the OST is filled with generic royalty-free music or… more insert songs (although ‘Take on Me’ is better than any track used in previous Illumination films). Sometimes it works, other times it’s just distracting.

But the Bowser musical number is the best part of the movie. Beyond a doubt. And the use of the DK Rap put the biggest, dumbest smile on my face!

As for the voice acting, it’s all pretty solid! Sure, Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, and Seth Rogan are basically just doing their normal voices, but their performances are much better than the trailers led me to believe they’d be. Jack Black as Bowser is easily the highlight; dude turned Bowser into the star with every scene!

I’m genuinely amazed with how much I enjoyed this movie. It’s not high-art and it won’t revolutionize animation. But it’s a really fun movie that put a big dumb grin on my face from start to end!

And now, I never need to put the word Illumination in a movie article ever again. Oh, joyous day!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: