Super Mario Bros. Movie - Good, But Not Necessarily Great
I guess the big N may have felt a bit threatened by the blue blur showing up on the big screen. Either that, or Nintendo may have wanted to expand their horizons a bit. Which, to be quite honest, is odd. First, they spearheaded the effort of making a Vulkan shader extension. I have never seen Nintendo contribute to FOSS in any way, shape, or form. And now, they’re dabbling with their most successful IP in animation form. I’m still trying to wrap my ahead around it.
Please note: there are a few spoilers here!
I reserved my ticket online. I even got to pick where my seat was. I picked the leftmost seat in the center. Not too far away from the screen, but not too close either. Outside from having to move my feet every once in a while to let people in and out of my row, I’d say the chairs were pretty comfortable. Made of leather. There’s even a few buttons that allow you to bring up the chair’s foot rest and adjust the recline to your tastes.
The movie was scheduled for 12:05 in the morning. Half an hour’s drive in, I’m there around 12:00. Guy scans my QR code on my phone and tells me where to go. I’ll spare you the rant on the “convenience fee” for having popcorn delivered to my seat. Which they actually didn’t deliver; I had to go back out to the concession stand and tell the girl behind the counter I was supposed to have a large popcorn with extra butter delivered to me at 12:05 AM.
“The Mario popcorn tin is going to be $15,” the cashier said to the guys who were in front of me at the stand.
The guys look at each other, and one says, “That isn’t bad!” They buy the Mario brick-themed square tin, and ask for the butter to be layered. For that kind of price, yeah, that’s the very least they could do.
About 20 minutes of advertising before the show even starts, and my popcorn bucket is already half-empty.
The movie starts off with Bowser’s castle crashing on some arctic land. Bowser, together with his Koopa Troopa minions, capture a star. The star grants invincibility, much like in the games themselves. Bowser wants to marry Peach, and rule the world with her.
Now, you’re probably thinking the movie carries the same formula as most of the games. And it does, to a degree. However, one thing that’s different, is Peach isn’t captured at the outset. It’s actually Luigi that needs the saving this time. Peach doesn’t just sit on the sidelines; she actually becomes the leader, to which Mario becomes sidekick, along with Toad. Finally, Peach isn’t the one who’s kidnapped.
If you’re wondering whether this movie is better than the one Nintendo tried to attempt in the 90s, well, you can be rest assured that it’s leagues upon leagues better. It was animated by Illumination, the same company that pioneered Sing, Despicable Me, and The Secret Life of Pets. The animation itself is pretty decent.
A common quote you’ll hear is “Chris Pratt didn’t kill the movie.” No, he didn’t. But I just found it very odd he was the one chosen to voice as the Italian red plumber. Jack Black voicing Bowser was pretty cool; same thing goes to Seth Rogen for Donkey Kong. It’s a bit different seeing the characters have voices, considering Mario and Luigi for the most part only speak grunts in the games. But, I guess for a movie, you gotta have voice actors to keep the animation entertaining.
Peach and Mario seek the help of Cranky Kong’s army to fight against Bowser and his minions, but to earn that, Mario has to fight against Cranky’s son, Donkey Kong, and win. I’ll also mention that, similar to the games, there are “power-up” blocks scattered throughout the world, and when they’re hit, it will reveal an item. The character will either get larger, smaller, turn into a cat, or be able to throw fireballs. Peach gets an ice flower that transforms her into Elsa from Frozen, basically.
Yup, here we find Donkey Kong’s dad. And, similar to the very first Mario game that came into existance, Mario and DK are frenemies.
Oh, and while I’m at it, we also discover Mario and Luigi’s parents, as well. Of course, spaghetti is served for supper, with mushrooms. So, instead of Charles Martinet voicing Mario, he actually voices his dad this time around. And for once, we actually get to see the two brothers work together to solve a water leak. They’re plumbers after all, right?
With the Mario Kart series being so popular, it’s no wonder why there’s segments where there’s racing. One Koopa Troopa drives around a monster truck, trying to crush Mario. Later on we find out this very same Koopa becomes the infamous “Blue Shell” weapon, that seeks to destroy the racer in first place. It was kind of neat to see more personality into some of these characters.
Did you know Bowser plays the piano? Yup, he’s pretty good at it too. Vocals, eh, not so much. “Peaches, peaches, peaches, peaches.” Bowser sings about the love of his life. This is one of the few times in the movie where I got a chuckle.
It’s kind of difficult to talk about this movie without getting into spoilers, so I think I’ll wrap up here. Would I recommend watching it? Yeah, it’s pretty decent. Is it something I would watch again though? Eh, that’s a tough one. Out of 10 stars, I would probably give the Super Mario Bros movie a 7.5. It’s good, but not super fantastic.
- animation quality, colors are good
- some genuinely funny moments
- Chris Pratt didn’t kill the movie
- plot isn’t entirely different than the majority of Mario games
- Chris Pratt voicing Mario: why?
All images are credit of Illumination