The Super Mario Bros. Movie


‘…The Super Mario Bros Movie is short, bright, funny, colourful and should work for kids of all ages…’

Leaving aside the rather shonky live-action version, Super Mario and his plumber pal Luigi are two characters who should have been a slam dunk cinematically; pretty much every kid knows them, adults trust the brand, and seeing beloved IP on the big screen is likely to please audiences seeking family friendly fare. With everything from The Last of Us to Sonic the Hedgehog landing right now, getting the Illumination studios, best known for the Minions franchise, to revamp Mario’s platform adventures sounds like a sure-fire commercial hit, and that’s pretty much what The Super Mario Bros. Movie turns out to be for Universal Pictures.

‘It’s not a commercial, it’s cinema!’ reason the Mario Brothers as they devise their first tv advert, and fortunately Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic’s animated feature has the slick look and talented voice cast required to be a cut above most children’s fare. This is an origin story, tracing Mario (Chris Pratt) and his brother Luigi (Charlie Day) through the embryonic stages of their family plumbing business in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, to Mario’s adventure teaming up with Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) in Mushroomland to travel the Rainbow Road and rescue Luigi from the Dark Lands. Along the way, there’s a new friend or two in the form of Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen) and his dad Cranky King (Fred Armisen).

While The Super Mario Bros. Movie doesn’t attempt the rich, subversive cultural commentary that distinguished last years kid/adult cross-over Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers, it’s certainly a crowd-pleaser, with lots of crazy platforms to navigate and high-speed karting action that will please anyone who knows the various Nintendo games. Music choices are fairly chunky and retro, ranging from The Beastie Boys’ No Sleep Till Brooklyn to a-ha’s Take on Me to ACDC’s Thunderstruck; obviously pleasing parents is more important than getting down with the kids in this department.

The Super Mario Bros Movie is short, bright, funny, colourful and should work for kids of all ages; there’s even some dialogue to savour. Princess Peach compliments Mario when he tries and fails to emulate her platform dexterity ‘You’re just saying that to make me feel better,’ he curtly replies. After a pause, she presses ahead, asking ‘Is it working?’ to which he grudgingly answers ‘A little bit.’ With the previously reliable Pixar in something of a jam for decent content right now, this is an obvious popular winner, a mindless but fun entertainment with no pretentions; like Mario himself, The SMB Movie is perfectly timed to make the jump from playing games to packing them in at the cinema; for families worldwide seeking an easy-going day out, this is likely to be on like Donkey Kong himself.


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  1. I don’t hate that they made a Super Mario Bros. movie. I can see the audience, and I’m sure it’s quite good.

    But I must politely decline viewing by only saying that it’s clearly not for me 😉

  2. Thanks for this review, while we will probably also wait for it to be out on a streaming service, but that you enjoyed it is a good sign at least. There was a lot of fuss about Pratt just being Pratt, but I understand that the studio probably thought the original Mario voice actor would not work for a whole movie.

    • This is a big, silly film that is best for little kids, but I’ve got enough little kid in my tank to enjoy it for what it is and not get suched into meaningless debates about cultural representation here…it’s fun!

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