‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Review: “A Fun Ride Down Memory Lane”
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is the latest from Illumination and Universal Pictures, and was a complete and utter hot topic when the cast was announced in particular. Well, I am glad to report that it is in fact quite a fun time at the theater. It’s filled with references to all of the games, but not in ways that become distracting. The characters aren’t just shells, and the animation is fun to watch.
The plot for The Super Mario Bros. Movie is pretty simple. Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) live in Brooklyn as struggling plumbers. In their struggle, they end up in the Mushroom Kingdom, separated. In Mario’s journey to get back to Luigi, he will come across Bowser (Jack Black), Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), Toad (Keegan-Michael Key), and even Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen). Mario gets to learn the ropes of the Mushroom Kingdom, complete with power-ups, and his goal – along with Luigi – is to find a place where they belong.
Let’s talk about the first thing that everyone was afraid of, Pratt voicing Mario! The way the film handles it is that Mario and Luigi are Italian-Americans with accents leaning towards the latter. There is a small bit where they throw an attempt at an Italian accent, but it’s not a huge part. Pratt otherwise does a good job, probably the first time I’ve forgotten he was in the role. I do think you could have potentially placed some well-known Mario lines in the script better, but as-is it’s a good voice acting performance.
For the rest of the cast, the only one who really stood out as relatively uncomfortable with the voice acting, it was Taylor-Joy. She just doesn’t pack the punch I was quite expecting, especially for the character of Peach. But, I’m sure she’ll continue to figure things out, as this is only her second voice acting role. Black, as always is perfect. He’s a great Bowser, and was fantastic in the role. Scenes like Bowser planning to propose to Peach are definitely some of my favorites, and are also opportunities for Black to shine.
For the origin story of Mario and Luigi, I would say it makes things fun! I had never thought about why Mario and Luigi ended up where they’re at. It opens up your mind to more possibilities of the story, and it’s clearly something they wanted to expand on with the mid and post-credit scenes. This is a good script by Matthew Fogel, not much to critique other than maybe throwing in more traditional Mario lines. The animation looks clean, and is a good parallel to the game. Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic as directors work well together, and their experience shows because most everything flows well.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a great film for all ages, even if you haven’t played the games. It’s not hard to enjoy this as just another animated film. Maybe even become more invested, and want to try out the games! There are some good laughs, and most definitely a good story within this film, so don’t skip out on this one. – Katie Rentschler
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is in theaters now.
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