An iconic video game franchise has now reentered the movie industry, making major headlines and exciting many fans.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is the new movie adaptation of the famous Mario franchise, and it was better than what I was expecting. While there are a few issues with it, the movie was entertaining and brought some laughs.
There are two main issues I have with the movie: the plot and pacing of the film.
In summary, Mario and his brother Luigi stumble upon a strange pipe that transports them to another dimension. The brothers get separated with Luigi ending up in the “Darklands” ruled by King Bowser while Mario ends up in the “Mushroom Kingdom” ruled by Princess Peach. Mario is brought along by Peach to help save his brother, leading to him becoming a hero.
The story itself is not bad, considering that the Mario games are always about saving the princess. However, despite this change, the story does not dive too deep into building character arcs except for Mario. Most of the other characters stay the same from beginning to end, but that’s mainly because there is no need for them to change.
While there are some touching moments and smooth transitions to show some of the characters’ past memories, it doesn’t impact the story very much. It seemed like it was more to appease passionate fans of the franchise who know much more about the characters’ lore.
As for the pacing of the story, it was quite rushed. Considering the movie is only an hour and 32 minutes long, it felt like some parts could have been given more screen time and explored more in-depth.
The travel montage of Mario, Princess Peach and Toad could have gone on longer to showcase this new world that we are seeing for the first time while also developing the bond between the three characters.
The main thing I wish wasn’t so rushed was Mario’s relationship with pretty much any other character than his brother Luigi. More time seeing him develop a close bond with Princess Peach, Toad and Donkey Kong really could have helped me build more feelings toward them instead of just feeling the same way throughout the whole film.
There also are a few plot holes, as all movies have. The most notable was during the first half of the movie. No one in the Mushroom Kingdom, except Toad, knew who Mario even was despite him leaving with Princess Peach to get help in order to save his brother and the world. Later on, when Princess Peach returns, she exclaims that Mario is dead due to her believing he died after getting hit by a “Blue Shell.” The toads reacted in shock even though they barely had any time to know who he was or even his name.
Despite these flaws, the movie boasts some pretty good points, such as the animation, easter eggs and voice actors.
The biggest advantage of the film is the animation. It definitely fits with the style of Illumination Studios, yet they’ve outdone themselves over the small details. The water animation was really well done along with the different plants and shrubbery.
The different kingdoms each had their own unique look, and it fits really well with the different races that lived among these lands. The Toads lived in cute mushroom-looking houses with the iconic warp pipe appearing all around while the Apes and Monkeys lived in jungle huts yet had racing cars they drive around.
Overall, the scenery was magnificent and the different kingdoms/lands were all decked out with minute things that if you paused, you could admire all the details and easter eggs sprinkled in just one scene.
The many references to the Mario franchise are another big boost. As a Mario fan myself, I recognized many easter eggs that were sprinkled throughout the film, whether it was the music, items, places and characters.
One surprising point for me was how well the voice actors did with their roles. Many were surprised and concerned about Chris Pratt’s casting as the voice of Mario. While I definitely recognized Pratt’s voice, it didn’t negatively affect the movie for me. Some of the iconic quotes from Mario that appeared in a few shots were a nice homage to the character.
While all the voice actors did a good job, Jack Black as King Bowser really stole the spotlight as I honestly did not recognize his voice in the film. He did such a good job playing this evil villain yet remained hilarious — and seeing Bowser playing the piano and singing totally fit the comedy of Jack Black.
Overall, the movie is a fun, entertaining film that I would recommend to anyone who wants a nice, simple story that will make you laugh. If all else fails, you can enjoy seeing Bowser singing and playing the piano.