The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Super Mario Brothers are one of the greatest video games of the last forty years. Mario is a beloved iconic character. Yet, some of the appearances of Mario in the movies were lacking much.

So there was hope that the new animated movie with the Super Mario Bros. would present this in the best manner possible. The Rotten Tomatoes score was lower than I had expected, which was depressing.

Plumbers Mario (Chris Pratt) and his little brother Luigi (Charlie Day) wind up falling through a pipe and into a magical world called the Mushroom Kingdom. Separated, Mario is taken to Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) in an attempt to ask for help to find Luigi.

Meanwhile, the monstrous turtle Bowser (Jack Black) is preparing an assault on the mushroom Kingdom in an effort to get Princess Peach to accept his marriage proposal.

I thought this film, from the animation company Illumination, was a solid film. It may not be the greatest animated film we get this year, but it was charming, fun and cleverly written.

One of my favorite parts of the film was how cleverly the writers worked the game bits into the world. Early in the movie, while still in Brooklyn, Mario runs through a construction site much like he would have done in the actual video game. It was a fun way to include that in the film. I also enjoyed how they incorporated the power-ups among other things.

There was a lot of controversy over Chris Pratt’s voice (aka lack of accent) in trailers. The film addressed that immediately in a realistic and reasonable way in my opinion and I did not miss the hackneyed Italian accent. I found Pratt to have done an admirable job. Jack Black, in particular, was outstanding in his voice over acting. I did not even recognize his voice as Bowser until he was singing. Jack Black was probably my favorite part of the movie. Seth Rogan’s work as Donkey Kong and Keegan Michael-Key’s Toad both enriched the characters and brought them to life well.

The animation was colorful and excellent. It was the typical computer generated animation that Illumination has used in its other animated fare over the years. It very much worked in this style.

The story itself was kind of slight and did not bring much more to it than the very basic narrative structure. That is not a terrible thing. The film does know what it is trying to accomplish and it does so well.

While I enjoyed all of the music choices (because they are all great songs), to be honest, the songs chosen felt very overused. Songs such as Holding Out for a Hero, Take On Me, Thunderstruck, and Mr. Blue Sky are some personal favorites, but they have been used many times in other movies making them feel less special. However, jack Black’s Peaches is masterful.

The final act of the movie was truly messy. It was a giant bombastic fight that felt out of place as with the rest of the movie. It should have been toned down some to make it more relatable to the audience. I am sure the children in the audience enjoyed the rapid fire action though and I have seen worse third act throw downs.

You could do much worse on an Easter weekend with the family than going to see The Super Mario Bros. Movie. It is not going to be the best animated movie of the year, but it is far from the worst. It adapts the game effectively and provided some awesome animation and some fun, classic characters.

3.5 stars

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