*Warning this article contains spoilers of “The Super Mario Bros Movie” *
Wahoo! Nintendo and Illumination Entertainment have finally teamed up to create a movie about the most beloved video game franchise. That franchise is Super Mario Bros, and this collaboration is everything a Mario fan could dream of.
The film focuses on brothers Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day), who recently started a plumbing business in Brooklyn. Their startup is not as successful as they had hoped for. So, one night, the brothers discover a massive leak in the city and try to fix it to become the city’s heroes. Unexpectedly, while going underground to repair the leak, Mario and Luigi get sucked into a warp pipe and separated from each other. Mario lands in the Mushroom Kingdom, ruled by Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), while Luigi lands in the Dark Lands, ruled by the evil King Bowser (Jack Black). Mario teams up with the princess and a brave Mushroom resident, Toad (Keegan-Michael Key), to rescue Luigi from the ruthless king.
From the beginning, Mario fans already anticipated the plotline of “The Super Mario Bros Movie” to go along the lines of Mario saving a subject from the villainous King Bowser. However, the creators Matthew Fogel, Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic surpassed those expectations and transformed the franchise’s origin story into something that was unique while remaining nostalgic. For instance, Princess Peach is mainly known for being the damsel-in-distress throughout most Mario games. But the audience sees her character in the movie as a strong, independent leader who teaches Mario the ropes to defeat Bowser. Seeing her character portrayed differently in the film, while keeping Peach’s core qualities of grace and kindness, was enjoyable to watch.
The creators also put an exciting spin on King Bowser that felt fresh while staying true to the games. The movie was able to capture Bowser’s character as a villain but show a softer side of him when it comes to Peach, which made him both funny and compelling to watch. For instance, the surprising and beautiful musical number of Bowser singing “Peaches” was entertaining to see and left the audience singing the song long after the film. This portrayal of Bowser was possible not only because of Fogel’s take on the character but also as a result of Jack Black’s fantastic performance. Some Mario fans were even rooting for Bowser at the end.
Alongside the characters’ storylines, the animations in the film were out of this world. Each scene is stunning and makes the audience feel like they are in the video game world. This feeling carried through both the depictions of the Mushroom Kingdom, which were vibrant and colorful, and the scenery of the Dark Lands, which were wicked and chaotic.
Also, the animators’ attention to detail with the Mario games did not disappoint. They added significant Easter eggs throughout the film from games that both the younger and older generations grew up playing like Donkey Kong 64 and Mario Kart. The creators were able to take elements that fans know and love and put them into the film seamlessly without being too overwhelming. The audience can see this in the movie’s beginning when Mario and Luigi go through a New York construction site that resembles the layout of Level 1-1 in Super Mario Bros. These allusions transported viewers back to childhood and left them smiling throughout the movie.
All in all, this film is a must-watch for anyone who grew up playing the Mario video games. “The Super Mario Bros Movie” brings the characters and world to life in a fun, family-style way that will make you reminisce about the video games.