An iconic video game gets another chance at big screen glory in The Super Mario Bros. Movie from Universal Pictures. Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic direct the 2023 version of the Super Mario Bros. Movie, and Matthew Fogel pens the script.
Chris Pratt stars as Mario, the famous mustachioed plumber. Other notable cast members include Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Charlie Day as Luigi, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, and Jack Black as Bowser. Growing up, I was more partial to Sega, but everyone knows who Mario is, even if you aren't into video games. I still remember my excitement when the 1993 film version of the game was announced, but the less said about that misfire, the better. So three decades later, how does the latest attempt measure up? They got it right, thanks to a great voice cast and short run time.
The story starts simple, perhaps too simple for some, but enough to introduce us to the fantastic world of Mario. Our two plumber heroes are Mario and Luigi. Their brothers run a plumbing business in Brooklyn, but they quickly deal with more significant issues when they try to repair a leak that is flooding the city.
Suddenly they find themselves catapulted through magical pipes, taking them right into the kingdom of mushrooms (for Mario) and dark lands (for Luigi). All this while he is being pursued by Bowser, who has taken possession of a superstar and hostages Luigi. With help from Princess Peach and Donkey Kong, Mario devises a plan to save his brother and confront Bowser. Illumination Studios have outdone themselves with this one! From the vibrant landscape to the enthusiasm of our beloved characters - it's captivating from start to finish!
The filmmakers were able to draw inspiration from not only from more recent installments in the series but also classic eras as well. Anyone who witnesses Mario on his grand adventure will be taken back in time as he adventures alongside other characters on this epic quest!
This film has it all: visually stunning effects, powerful soundtracks of classical and modern music, and attention to detail in the development of Mario's world. Every scene immerses viewers in the Mushroom Kingdom, providing ample evidence that the filmmakers had an expansive budget. The clever use of power-ups to propel Mario forward showcases a new level of creativity within video games. The soundtrack selected is designed to evoke a specific emotion within long-time fans of the series; these soundtracks are nostalgically nostalgic yet passionate in their innovation - creating old memories with a twist for current audiences. Parents will appreciate the soundtrack made up of Classic 80s hits such as "Hold Out For A Hero" by Bonnie Tyler or "Take On Me" by A-Ha can be heard during particular scenes.
This entire project is a love letter from Nintendo to its brand and paying tribute to gamers worldwide - celebrating over 40 years of creative works by Nintendo while reaching out to an even broader audience. Remember to stay through the credits for two stingers.
Final Grade: B+
The Super Mario Bros. Movie opens in theaters tomorrow