The long-anticipated “Super Mario Bros. Movie” finally hit theaters! In just the first week, the movie brought in nearly $400 million worldwide at the box office, making it the biggest opening for an animated film adapted from a video game ever. But the big question still remains: did it totally knock everyone’s socks off? To put it bluntly, not quite…unless you’re a kid, of course.
Following the huge flop of “Super Mario Bros.: The Movie” after its premiere in 1993, fans have eagerly awaited the release of the 2023 remake and certainly had high expectations for it. However, Illumination and Universal’s highly anticipated co-production of this film was somewhat underwhelming.
With a runtime of about an hour and a half, it lacked substance, as most films this short tend to. The plot line was very safe and predictable, and there were no surprises or drama whatsoever. In other words, the movie ends exactly the way you would guess it to after watching the first 30 minutes or so. However, it is still pretty funny. There were unfortunately no witty jokes or any kind of adult humor that would have easily gone over the heads of the younger viewers, and that addition alone would have gone a long way to making the film substantially more entertaining for the mature viewers.
The film begins in Brooklyn, where Mario (Chris Pratt) and his younger, taller, and thinner brother, as Mario says in the movie, Luigi (Charlie Day), are hopelessly trying to earn a reputation for themselves as a homegrown plumbing duo. Amidst their efforts to save their city from a flood and become heroes, they find themselves in the underground sewers of New York City, where they are sucked into a different dimension. Mario ends up in the colorful, mystical Mushroom Kingdom, ruled by Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her Toads, while Luigi, unfortunately, lands on the dark side of this magical world, ruled by Bowser (Jack Black) and his army of Koopa Troopas. Long story short, Mario enlists Princess Peach to train him to battle Bowser and get his brother back safely, but this is complicated by the fact that Bowser is completely head over heels in love with Peach, and is angered when he sees her with what he believes to be her new love interest. Mario, Peach, Toad, and Donkey Kong all team up and travel via go-kart to take down Bowser and his army in his dark, hellish land.
Without spoiling the rest, here are a few important factors that somewhat redeem this movie from its shallow and predictable storyline. First, the graphics and colors in this movie were unbelievable and did indeed live up to the visuals we all know and love from the Nintendo games. The mushroom kingdom was absolutely beautiful; the castle and the landscape were vibrant and picturesque, so in that aspect, the movie did live up to its expectations. Second, the movie also includes all of the famous features from the real Mario games, from the superstars to the fire flowers and question mark cubes, and they all look and sound exactly how they do in the games. My personal favorite was the rainbow road mario kart track, which actually looked even better than it does in the game. However, the best and funniest part of this movie is Bowser. He carried the whole movie on his own, especially with his hilarious singing tribute to his beloved Peach. Not to mention he spends the majority of the movie embarrassing himself by planning his marriage to her, and even practicing his proposal with one of his Koopa Troopas, who he dressed up to look like her.
All in all, the movie definitely wasn’t as exciting as it was thought to be, but it’s still worth the watch for the incredible visuals and Bowser alone. It seems as though it was designed with the thought of it being for kids and kids only, but you can still get some enjoyment out of it if you’re an adult. After all, most younger adults grew up playing Super Mario games, so I think I can speak for us all when I say we were probably looking forward to it more than the kids were. So if you happen to love anything related to Mario, this movie is a must-watch.