Review: Illumination and Universal’s ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie,’ is the second attempt at a big-screen adaptation of the much-popular video game franchise following the little-remembered live-action fantasy film ‘Super Mario Bros.’ (1993). In the past few decades, many significant changes have taken place, and ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ feels like some magical celebration of how this franchise has evolved over the years by bringing simple and straightforward video game fun elevated by colourful visuals to the OG fans.
Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom, the magical land that serves as the primary setting of the film, closely resembles its video game counterpart. Even the question mark boxes, fire flowers, super stars sound and function exactly as they are supposed to. Although the details are precise, the establishment of the main character’s charm in 1981 for a genre that heavily relies on winking humour feels trite and predictable.
Co-directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, this animation-adventure revolves around two upstart plumbers from Brooklyn, Mario (Chris Pratt) and his younger brother, Luigi (Charlie Day), who are zapped into the fantastical world of Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), Toad (Keegan-Michael Key), and the evil Bowser (Jack Black). Many of the events of the film have some basis in the original video games, in an oppressively satisfying way; however, the film’s adherence to fan service frequently results in choices that make little sense within the context of the story. For instance, when Mario and Peach recruit Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen) to take on Bowser’s army, they choose to travel by go-kart. However, there is no logical reason to do the same. So, set aside your logic and enjoy this 92-minute film.
Chris Pratt does a decent job of voicing the main character and is able to inspire catchphrases like “let’s a-go.” But what really stands out are Jack Black and Anya Taylor-Joy’s voiceovers for Bowser and Princess Peach, respectively.
Finally, the soundtrack of the film adds to the fun factor by transporting you back to the time of the video game. ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ is neither groundbreaking nor a complex story, but it certainly works as a fun, nostalgic trip that will enthral kids while bringing back childhood memories for adults.