Courtesy of Illumination
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is the next film from Illumination starring Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, Anya Taylor Joy, Jack Black, Keegan Michael Key, and Seth Rogen. In this film, Mario and Luigi are plumbers in Brooklyn struggling to start a plumbing business. They get sucked into the Mushroom Kingdom, but Luigi falls into the clutches of Bowser. Mario teams up with Princess Peach and Toad to stop Bowser and save Luigi. This film was directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, who developed Teen Titans Go.
I had a lot of questions going into the film. Will Chris Pratt be good as Mario? Will this film be respectful to the Mario games? Will this be a good video game film like Sonic the Hedgehog or another bad video game movie? The last time we got a Mario film, it was terrible. The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a good film that everyone of all ages will enjoy. At the same time, it's not a game-changer for video game films and animated movies.
The best thing about this movie is how respectful it is to the Mario games. If you are a Mario fan, this film is for you. The design of the characters and the Mushroom Kingdom is spot on. Unlike most video game films that go live-action, The Super Mario Bros. Movie goes animated. They take full advantage of the animation when making this world and give fans what they want in a Mario film. There are nods and references to most Mario games. For example, they have a Mario Kart sequence in the film that pays tribute to the Mario Kart games. Other places besides the Mushroom Kingdom are in the movie. For example, Mario, Peach, and Toad go to the Jungle Kingdom to get help against Bowser.
The voice cast does a good job overall. Chris Pratt voicing Mario was a lot better than expected. The best voice performances came from Charlie Day as Luigi and Jack Black as Bowser. The dynamic between Mario and Luigi is the best part of this film. I wish the film had more of Mario and Luigi working together. Hopefully, the sequels have more of it. As for Bowser, he is an entertaining villain who wants to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom. His motivations, while silly, are explained.
Anya Taylor-Joy voices Princess Peach, the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom. Unlike most Mario games, Peach is not a damsel in distress, and the film gives her a backstory. Seth Rogen plays Donkey Kong, who Mario faces at some point. Instead of making Donkey Kong a secondary antagonist Mario only meets once, the film does more with him after the fight. Keegan-Michael Key as Toad is funny and helps introduce Mario to this new world Mario is in.
The film's weak spot is the story of the film. It's the typical Mario saves someone plot we've seen in Mario games. The story is not bad, but nothing special. It doesn't change things for Mario or video game films. Most Mario games are not known for having amazing stories. At the same time, not everyone who watches this film will be a fan of the Mario video games. If Illumination plans on making other movies based on video games such as The Legend of Zelda, which are more story-driven games than Mario, they need to improve the stories for their films. The film also could be longer than an hour and thirty-two minutes.
The action is fun to watch and is exactly how I expected it to go in a Mario movie. The power-ups from the games make an appearance. The soundtrack is fine. They used 1980s music, which was fine, but also felt unnecessary. The score was better and it was great when they used the Mario games as a reference.
Overall, The Super Mario Bros. Movie continues to show video game films are growing and slowly improving. The animation looks great, and how accurate the film looks to the games is incredible. The voice cast proved the doubters wrong. The story could be better, and hopefully, any sequels or spinoffs can improve that. Some Mario games have great stories that can be used for future films. The potential for a great Mario film series is there. Mario fans will most likely enjoy this film more than casual moviegoers.
The final grade for The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a B. The movie is a fun adaptation that kids and adults will enjoy that pays respect to the Mario games. I highly recommend you check this film out if you love the Mario games.
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