Lauren Wong | The Poly Post

Review: ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’

By Daniel Duque, April 18, 2023

It’s rare to find someone who did not grow up with one of the most iconic video game characters — Nintendo’s mascot Mario the plumber. Making his debut in the 1983 arcade game “Super Mario Bros.” and recently becoming the protagonist of his own 3D animated movie, this character has been significant in several generations.

Illumination’s “Super Mario Bros. Movie” is an accurate and colorful representation of the video game world, featuring multiple references to Mario games.  The film kept viewers engaged with Easter eggs featured throughout the film. One example is Luigi’s ringtone being the GameCube startup sound.

The movie opens with the main villain of the Mario franchise, Bowser, with his army of Koopas gaining possession of the super star that was treasured and protected inside the ice castle guarded by the penguin army. This item provides full invincibility to its holder, which Bowser plans to use to gain control of the different kingdoms.

The brothers Mario, play by Chris Pratt, and Luigi, played by Charlie Day,  are introduced through a commercial promoting their struggling plumbing business, with this advertisement being a reference to the “Super Mario Bros. Super Show!” from 1989, which was a nice touch to the film.

Mario and Luigi live in Brooklyn, New York where their plumbing business is unsuccessful since they do not get a lot of calls and one of their recent jobs resulted in disaster. This hurts Mario’s morale because he feels thathe is disappointing his family, however, Luigi encourages him with words of hope.

During an inspection of the Brooklyn pipe system, the brothers end up being sucked down a warp pipe that teleports them to different worlds separating them. What attracted my attention to this scene, is how the film shows viewers what happens when traveling through a warp pipe. In the video games, players who use these pipes are instantly teleported to another place.

As Mario travels across the Mushroom Kingdom seeking for help to find his brother, who is in the Dark Lands, viewers are introduced to impressive visuals showing how daily life is like for the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom and their monarch Princess Peach.

Similar to the Super Mario games, Bowser wants to marry Princess Peach, this time by planning to gift her the super star he stole. But just as in every game, he sees his plans threatened by Mario which enrages him.

Something interesting done by the film was changing the games’ formula by having Luigi being the one captured by Bowser instead of Peach, giving her character a more capable and empowered trait.

The movie mainly focuses on the adventures of Mario, Peach and their other allies to save Luigi and the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser’s power.

Lauren Wong | The Poly Post

References are seen everywhere throughout the film. They appear as small Nintendo character cameos and accurate representations of gameplay and events featured in multiple games.

One of the most iconic references to the video games was the scene that showcased what a race is like in “Mario Kart.” During this scene, Mario and his allies have a battle against Bowser’s army using different power ups and gameplay features from the racing franchise. This event takes place in Rainbow Road, a representative racing track from the “Mario Kart” games.

Another reference I enjoyed was the battle between Mario and Donkey Kong that took place in DK Jungle fromthe Donkey Kong franchise. This battle showed gameplay elements from the Smash Bros. franchise as well as a throwback to the classic arcade game Donkey Kong, with Mario using power ups from different games to defend himself against DK.

The soundtrack also plays an important role in the film with each track matching the setting of the movie.  Most of these were remastered theme songs featured in the original games like “Mario Kart’s” Rainbow Road music played during the Mario Kart scene and DK Jungle’s theme song which played when Mario, Peach and Toad found themselves in DK Jungle to seek help from the Kongs.

The highlight of the soundtrack and the film itself was the song “Peaches” performed by Bowser who was played by actor Jack Black. This song showcased Bowser expressing his love to Princess Peach which gave the character a softer side despite being the main antagonist of the film.

A post-credits scene hinted a future sequel featuring Nintendo’s dinosaur character and Mario’s friend Yoshi, who could become the cause of new problems for the city of Brooklyn.

Although the movie is more directed towards the fans of the Mario franchise due to the multiple Easter eggs and references featured, I think it is also good movie to watch even if not familiar with the video games represented in the film.

It has a solid and entertaining plot that is easy to understand, and it leaves a message about the value of union and brotherhood.

In my opinion, this film is Illumination’s best work.

Feature image courtesy of Lauren Wong

Verified by MonsterInsights