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The Super Mario Bros. Movie

April 12, 2023
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Mamma Mia! A Mario movie that doesn’t suck? What in the Koopa Troopa is going on here???

A new computer-generated movie set in the video game universe of Nintendo’s number one mascot, The Super Mario Bros. Movie follows these titular plumber siblings as they’re transported to a world unlike any other: the Mushroom Kingdom. Needing to find their way back to one another after being split up on arrival, brothers Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) are soon caught in the middle of a conflict that sees the steadfast ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), making desperate preparations to defend her land against the oncoming Koopa hordes loyal to her tyrannical dinosaur suitor, Bowser (Jack Black). With time running out to save Luigi and the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario, Peach, and new travel buddy, Toad (Keegan Michael-Key), must find a way to convince the Kong army to join their seemingly hopeless cause, something easier said than done and made even more difficult with the favored son of the jungle and no fan of Mario, Donkey Kong (Seth Rogan), standing in the way. Mario better be sure he has a few 1-Up mushrooms handy because he’s gonna need them.

First things first, and no, I’m not being a troll when I say this: Chris Pratt is actually kinda great as Mario. There, I said it. Being the only part of this movie that made me skeptical about its quality, I can honestly say that by the time Mario and Luigi got sucked into that green warp pipe, I forgot Pratt was even voicing Mario half the time. Not only that, but this movie probably has more spoken lines of dialogue for all characters involved than what they’ve had across every Mario game they’ve ever appeared in combined, with the entire cast, in a total surprise to me, nailing each of their respective roles, save for maybe Fred Armisen’s Cranky Kong. Every moment of this movie, from its voice cast down to its utterly beautiful animation and fully realized renditions of familiar Nintendo locales, are carefully crafted to appeal to uber-fans like me, consistently satisfying my nerd lust for more Mario goodness with franchise callbacks, easter eggs, audio and visual cues, music themes, and more all fitting organically into the flow of the film rather than acting as hollow add-ins — something that upped my enjoyment of what I was watching considerably.

But of course, the amount of nergasming going on doesn’t mean much if the movie itself isn’t up to par, and I’m happy to say that despite being fairly straightforward and lean as a film (it’s only an hour and a half!), The Super Mario Bros. Movie gets the job done without losing too much in the process. Sure, things move at an incredibly fast pace with only a few instances of real conflict happening throughout, yet for a family film based on a video game franchise that has little to no story or character progression to speak of, the filmmakers did a commendable, if a bit bare bones job of making the narrative something above average. This movie isn’t going to win any awards (unless Bowser’s “Peaches” earworm gets nominated for Best Original Song, that is), but thanks to the script’s satisfying world-building, exciting video game action, and spot-on sense of humor, this one’s shortcomings are easily made up for.

I don’t know how Illumination pulled it off but The Super Mario Bros. Movie is the exact movie it needed to be and the perfect way to kick off Mario’s long-awaited return to Hollywood, making this a must-see for diehard fans of the video game series and families looking for a fun time at the theater alike. I’ll take a Donkey Kong Country and Luigi’s Mansion set of spinoffs after seeing this one, and with Wario, Waluigi, Bowser Jr., and the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom waiting in the wings, I’m placing bets on nerds getting a shared Nintendo cinematic universe in the near future. Super Smash Bros: The Movie, here we come!

Mamma Mia! A Mario movie that doesn’t suck? What in the Koopa Troopa is going on here??? A new computer-generated movie set in the video game universe of Nintendo’s number one mascot, The Super Mario Bros. Movie follows these titular plumber siblings as they’re transported to a world unlike any other: the Mushroom Kingdom. Needing to find their way back to one another after being split up on arrival, brothers Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) are soon caught in the middle of a conflict that sees the steadfast ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), making desperate preparations to defend her land against the oncoming Koopa hordes loyal to her tyrannical dinosaur suitor, Bowser (Jack Black). With time running out to save Luigi and the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario, Peach, and new travel buddy, Toad (Keegan Michael-Key), must find a way to convince the Kong army to join their seemingly hopeless cause, something easier said than done and made even more difficult with the favored son of the jungle and no fan of Mario, Donkey Kong (Seth Rogan), standing in the way. Mario better be sure he has a few 1-Up mushrooms handy because he’s gonna need them. First things first, and no, I’m not being a troll when I say this: Chris Pratt is actually kinda great as Mario. There, I said it. Being the only part of this movie that made me skeptical about its quality, I can honestly say that by the time Mario and Luigi got sucked into that green warp pipe, I forgot Pratt was even voicing Mario half the time. Not only that, but this movie probably has more spoken lines of dialogue for all characters involved than what they’ve had across every Mario game they’ve ever appeared in combined, with the entire cast, in a total surprise to me, nailing each of their respective roles, save for maybe Fred Armisen’s Cranky Kong. Every moment of this movie, from its voice cast down to its utterly beautiful animation and fully realized renditions of familiar Nintendo locales, are carefully crafted to appeal to uber-fans like me, consistently satisfying my nerd lust for more Mario goodness with franchise callbacks, easter eggs, audio and visual cues, music themes, and more all fitting organically into the flow of the film rather than acting as hollow add-ins -- something that upped my enjoyment of what I was watching considerably. But of course, the amount of nergasming going on doesn’t mean much if the movie itself isn’t up to par, and I’m happy to say that despite being fairly straightforward and lean as a film (it’s only an hour and a half!), The Super Mario Bros. Movie gets the job done without losing too much in the process. Sure, things move at an incredibly fast pace with only a few instances of real conflict happening throughout, yet for a family film based on a video game franchise that has little to no story or character progression to speak…

8

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The Verdict

8

8

Brian is first and foremost a nerd in every way shape and form. He likes to compare himself to a black hole, consuming any and every form of entertainment unlucky enough to get caught in his gravitational pull. It's not uncommon on any given day for him to read a couple comics, settle down with a good book, watch a few movies (inside and out of the theater), catch up on his ever growing but never depleting Hulu queue, challenge himself with a few good video games, listen to any music he can get his hands on and, of course, write his heart out. He spends every waking moment dreaming up interesting and intriguing concepts and ideas that will hopefully one day inspire and entertain anyone looking for an escape from their daily lives. Graduating from Full Sail University in good old humid Florida, Brian currently lives and works in New York City and is waiting for the day when all he has to do is wake up and create something unique and new for people to enjoy. He is always in the process of writing scripts and stories and is constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance and build his creative drive. After all, life is just one big story, all that really matters is how you strive to make it the best story possible. Disclaimer: Brian does not actually have powdered green skin in case anyone was wondering. A Skrull I am not. Blame the guys at the Color Run for this one.

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