Los Angeles — Illumination and Nintendo’s ‘’The Super Mario Bros. Movie’’ film was released for the Easter holiday. The film features the beloved video-game characters of the Italian plumber duo of brothers, Mario (voiced by Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) in a big-budget CGI animated format taking on the villainous Koopa villain, Bowser (Jack Black), with the help of Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) who packs a punch to defend her Mushroom Kingdom.
Mario is the character most heavily associated with the Nintendo game. This is not the first adaption of the series as previously in 1991 to critical panning and fan derision. This film scared Nintendo from even thinking of films for their series until the creator of Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, met the founder of Illumination entertainment, Chris Meledandri to collaborate on Super Nintendo World in the Universal Studios parks in Japan, Hollywood and soon Orlando.
This serendipitous meetup caused this film to be born, but not without controversy beforehand. Many fans expected Charles Martinet to reprise his distinctive voice as Mario, with other characters being voiced by many Hollywood A-listers. This opened up a conversation about voice actors.
The film as a whole was visually spectacular and very vivid in color. All the characters looked very cartoony except for Princess Peach, who looked a tad more realistic, but still fitting in this world. The story though, was very fast paced and wastes no time getting through the story, with fanservice abound with cameos, Easter eggs and references to the games in both the visuals and the score.
While most of the cast was great, with the exception of Pratt, Jack Black was the standout who truly shined and felt he was having so much fun in the studio. Keegan Michael Key also deserves some love for sounding extra adorable as the Toads. Charlie Day also sounds frighteningly convincing as Luigi.
The score deserves kudos too, Brian Tyler and original Mario composer, Koji Kondo, made wonderful melodies that interpolated the original Mario themes. Sadly, it felt mandated that because it was a children’s film, that it had to have random pop songs in it. It is not coated in them like other films, but you will notice it.
The origins of Mario and Luigi were changed to be Brooklyn plumbers rather than being from the Mushroom Kingdom outright in order to create a fish out of water tale. Peach also changed by making her more of a strong character as she is in many other Mario games and crossover games such as “Super Smash Bros.” Miyamoto also wanted the princess to be a strong character from the beginning as he says this film is the perfect way to show it to audiences.
I give this film 3.5 out 5 adorable toads. While it is wonderful in its visuals and high energy writing, the story and random pop songs make it seem like it could have been more, but was still fun. There is room for improvement which I believe a sequel will be made.
Oh … stay after the credits for two scenes that set up the future.