‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’: a unique take on classic video game storyline dominates box office


Trusted Reviews

Tiana Burgos

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is funny, full of adventure and beautifully animated — and is now unsurprisingly the highest-grossing video game movie of all time.

Since its exclusive debut on April 7, Nintendo and Illumination studio’s blockbuster hit grossed over $500 million worldwide. It surpassed the previous record of $439.4 million held by the 2016 release “Warcraft.”

The record-breaking success was produced by Illumination’s CEO Chris Meledandri and Nintendo superstar Shigeru Miyamoto, who was responsible for the quintessential “Donkey Kong,” “The Legend of Zelda” and countless other games. The movie was directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, who co-developed “Teen Titans Go!”

Gaming powerhouse Nintendo’s “Super Mario Bros.” game debuted in Japan in 1985 and in the US in 1986, making history as one of the best-selling games of all time.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is the origin story of Mario and Luigi, two plumbers from Brooklyn who accidentally find their way to the Mushroom Kingdom.

It’s hilarious to watch Mario adjust to the new lifestyle with his introduction to iconic game elements, like hitting blocks and going through pipes. Rather than feeling silly or forced, they feel genuine and essential to the Mushroom Kingdom.

The film stays faithful to the components of the video game classic while creating an original story that is compelling. Nintendo has no shortage of source material, pulling from staples like “Super Mario 64,” “Mario Kart,” “Super Mario Odyssey” and more.

It provides a clear backstory for the characters and how their worlds become connected while remaining fresh and relatable to a new younger audience. Subtle hints of nostalgia with iconic tunes and easter eggs are hidden throughout.

The  movie’s themes of courage, unity and perseverance persist with the cute maxim “nothing can hurt us as long as we’re together!” recurring throughout the film. Princess Peach’s fierce determination is a prime example.

Unlike the platform games where Princess Peach needs saving, her courageous and daring traits are emblematic of her transformation throughout the years, with games like “Super Princess Peach” and her character in the “Super Smash Bros.” series.

Each character is full of personality. The film stars Chris Pratt as Mario, who brings the character to life despite the initial backlash from those wanting the traditional Mario voice. Charlie Day shines as Luigi, but should have gotten more screen time.

Their father is played by none other than Charles Martinet, the original voice of Mario. He also makes a cameo at Punch-Out! Pizzeria, a nod to the classic NES game “Punch-Out”, and gives the audience the iconic Mario “Yahoo!” sound.

Bowser, voiced by Jack Black, is dramatic, complicated, self-obsessed and yet an emotionally complex villain. Black’s performance completely embodies Bowser’s spirit and delivers on all levels. His ability to shift his voice from strong and intimidating to soft and sensitive makes for a perfect Bowser.

Of course, Black incorporates his musical flare with the song “Peaches” which he helped write and produce. Fans adored the song, and are already raving about its Oscar eligibility.

The soundtrack is wonderfully immersive. Intentionally excluding most of the franchise’s popular songs, it serves as an homage to its debut in the ‘80s, with songs like “Take On Me” bridging the generational gap.

Its 92-minute runtime is short enough to hold a young child’s attention without sacrificing the story or content.

The film perfectly captures the essence and magic of Nintendo and leaves moviegoers wanting more. Audiences can be satiated by watching out for the two post-credit scenes.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is a perfect entry point for young children or newcomers to the franchise. While there are no plans for a sequel as of yet, audiences can’t help but anticipate what “The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2” could look like.