The Super Mario Bros. Movie Review

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Review

By Kevin Hoskinson
Entertainment Editor

Like many other people, Mario and his brother Luigi have been an integral part of my life. I still remember a Christmas back in the 80s when my dad surprised us with a Nintendo Entertainment System, which came packaged with the original Super Mario Bros. game cartridge. Over the years, the series has evolved with the world and myself, almost as if Mario was growing along with us. He would see his world grow, with new characters and new adventures to be had.

One thing that has never really changed, though, is the story at hand. As vast and as technically impressive the adventures get, the basic premise remains the same. Whether it’s the Mushroom Kingdom or the entire galaxy, the games always feature Mario overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles to save the day. Most of the time, Bowser has some ridiculous plan to prove his power, and our favorite plumber always comes out on top. It’s a tried and true formula that has worked for generations, and Nintendo knows this. That is why the new film from Universal and Illumination, in association with Nintendo, works as well as it does.

In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, trouble is brewing in The Mushroom Kingdom. Bowser has finally gotten his hands on a Super Star and plans to use it to take down Princess Peach and her toad army. While working their day job as plumbers in Brooklyn, Mario, and Luigi are sucked into a warp pipe transporting them to a whimsical new world. Luigi ends up in the grips of Bowser, and by teaming up with Princess Peach, Mario learns the ins and outs of becoming a hero and does what he has to do to save his brother and help the Princess save the kingdom.

Along the way, Donkey Kong joins them, and there is even a Mario Kart sequence that will surely make fans very happy. That’s really what this movie is all about, pleasing the audience, both young and old. There are numerous Easter eggs and callbacks to the franchise and the history of Nintendo that everybody can appreciate. Even in passing, there are fleeting references that you might have to catch upon a second watch. One of the cool things about it is that it never feels forced, it all feels natural and part of the fantastical world we have found ourselves in.

A big concern many fans had going into the film was the voice cast, particularly Chris Pratt as Mario. Those concerns can be put to rest because he does a fantastic job, along with Charlie Day as Luigi. Although they are the titular duo, Jack Black as Bowser and Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach steal the show. In this story, Peach is not the damsel in distress but rather a badass heroine and the movie’s best character. She is strong and doesn’t need anybody to save her, which is a massive change from the games and one that works incredibly well. And if you’ve ever asked yourself what Bowser is like when he’s not up to his villainous ways, you’ll find out he loves music and writes love ballads to his number one crush. Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong is an inspired choice also, and Keegan-Michael Key does a great job disappearing into the role of Toad.

While the visuals are also great, the score by Brian Tyler seals the deal. Tyler first caught my attention with the music he did for Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag and has done everything from Ready Or Not to Scream to Yellowstone. He has become one of my favorites and his range is incredible. With this one, he uses recognizable music to create something epic and unique. The right musical cues hit at the right time completely immerses you in the experience. It’s beautiful when it all comes together in such a perfect package.

This is the type of film that defines escapist entertainment. There isn’t much to the plot, and that’s ok; there isn’t supposed to be. Whether you are a kid or an adult, watching something that is pure fun and joy for 90 minutes is ok. As an adult who loves movies and has severe ADHD, films like this are perfect now and again. They allow people to completely forget about real life and lessen the anxiety of the real world, which we can all use right now. Definitely go check it out!

Rating: FOUR Pastrami Nations out of FIVE.

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