THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE
Starring: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen, Kevin Michael Richardson, Khary Payton, and Charles Martinet
Directors: Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is full of colorful animation, tons of easter eggs and references, and a healthy helping of nostalgic cues, both musical and visual. That said, it’s still a Mario movie made by Illumination, and how you feel about the former heavily depends on your patience for the latter. The film is okay (even decent for kids), but lacks the heart that would have made it soar. There are some neat sequences, but they’re overshadowed by a lazy, bare-bones narrative with little character development and next-to-no emotionally investing moments. It’s not a disaster, but certainly not a success either.
We finally have a faithful movie adaptation of the most popular video game ever…and it’s fine. If you’re like me, a lifelong Mario lover, you’ll have some fun with The Super Mario Bros. Movie. I was constantly pointing at the screen with delight at every easter egg. The voice cast is serviceable (at worst), the animation is perfect, and the score is way better than it needed to be. That said, that all comes at the expense of a well-written story and effective emotional stakes. It has only been a few days, but I’m sad to say this movie has already started to fade.
Like other successful video game adaptations, the creators of The Super Mario Bros. Movie understood the source material’s strengths: years upon years of “ooh, I hope they include that in there” from which to pull. And pull they did. However, instead of banking on “because we can” nostalgic energy, the film entertainingly interweaves its numerous references into heartwarming familial themes, surprisingly dark humor, and an invested voice cast (Bowser’s voice is forevermore Jack Black). There’s nothing particularly great about the film, other than what makes the game special, but that’s more than enough for a fun time.