“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” lives up to expectations

Roxanne Flood
Contributing Writer

Brian Tyler attends a special screening of Universal Pictures’ “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” at Regal LA Live on April 1, 2023, in Los Angeles. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images/TNS)

Breaking the box office record, making $337 million on opening weekend, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was released on April 5, and is a faithful adaptation of the games. It does not change aspects of the Mario world drastically and does not change the characters personalities or dynamics. It has a very light plot, like most Mario games, which lets the directors use the movie for world building, with small details that make the world feel more alive, like the blooper squids in the water or a herd of yoshi dinosaurs running by.

The movie follows the Mario brothers who are plumbers from Brooklyn. After trying to fix a massive flooding problem in the city they get transported through a magic pipe which separates the two. Mario ends up in the mushroom kingdom and with the help of Toad and Princess Peach they go to the darklands to save Maio’s brother Luigi. Along the way they get help from the Kongs who are the inhabitants of the jungle kingdom.

While the film is filled with references to Nintendo and it’s various properties, some notable ones are the Punch Out Pizzaria that the two brothers are seen in, this being a reference to the NES game “Punch-Out.” There is also a reference to “The Super Mario Bros Super Show” theme song as it’s played in the brother’s plumbing commercial. The references don’t take away from the plot and don’t isolate new viewers to the franchise.

The movie does have some pacing issues, with parts of the film wrapping up very quickly, not having enough time to sit for the viewer to process.

Two stand out performances are Jack Black (“School of Rock”) and Keegan Michael Key (“Key & Peele”) as Bowser and Toad. Black’s voice suits Bowser completely and Key’s approach to Toad makes him sound adventurous and cute, rather than the original Toad voice, which would be ear grading to hear for an hour and a half.

Notably, Chris Pratt’s (“Parks & Recreation”) Mario voice was not as bad as the internet were predicting it to be, due to Pratt’s previous work in voice acting sounding very similar to his voice. In the movie however, he does have a new voice for the character. In the movie the Mario voice is more of a Brooklyn accent instead of Italian.

The film is only in theaters at the moment with tickets selling for $16.70 at Ronnie’s, and available on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Redbox and Vudo for $24.99 to rent and $29.99 to buy, with a runtime of an hour and 32 minutes. There are physical media like blue ray and DVD options for the film available for pre-order on Amazon and Target.

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