- Genre: animation, adventure, comedy
- Duration: 1h 32min
- Released: 2023
- Age limit: 7
In my opinion, video game movies are very rarely successful. When I heard that there was going to be a new Mario movie, I was logically skeptical. Then the first trailer was released and it actually looked good. Some months ago I went to see the movie, and in this review I give my verdict on whether this new Mario movie is any better than the 1993 Mario movie known for its miserable quality.
Mario and Luigi are plumbers starting their own company in Brooklyn. Yes, in a very normal city inhabited by normal citizens of the Earth. There is no information about the mushroom kingdom, floating islands and where e.g. the Yoshis lie. They just live with their big family. Life is not exactly smiling, and the gentlemen want their new plumbing company to flourish. Then, problems occur, as a result of which the two end up in another world, and boy, now it looks like the Mario we’re used to! Unfortunately, Luigi ends up separated from Mario through the wrong pipe, and in the end, in addition to saving his brother, the entire mushroom kingdom needs to be saved.
The story is not at all miraculous. It’s a traditional world-saving adventure. A movie doesn’t always need a super good and unique story, and in the case of this movie, the story was never the main thing. So I can forgive the insipid story. However, there was some illogicality in the story, mainly that nothing of it really mattered in the movie. In the end, Mario’s journey achieves absolutely nothing. I can’t say too much about this because of spoilers, but in practice you could cut the movie in half in terms of time and nothing would be lost. Except maybe one character. Which wouldn’t have bothered me.
Regarding the script of the characters, I was positively surprised many times. The characters had a surprising amount of personality. For example, Mario and Luigi, who are pretty much always dumb men, were both personal characters. Luigi was the better boy though. The rest of the cast also shone with their personality. Peach was a badass princess, Bowser wasn’t a traditional bad guy and also had a soft side, Toad was surprisingly super brave, and Donkey Kong was, well, Donkey Kong. The best character was one Luma star who mumbled depressed comments in a cage. His self-destructive comments were amusing in such a cheesy children’s film. On the other hand, he was perhaps a little bit too much of dark character for this particular film, and hopefully the children will not completely understand all his comments.
I was really happy to hear a lot of different Mario songs in the movie! There were short references to games and longer versions of familiar titles. They had been remastered into orchestral versions, and often the songs fit the situation really well. And of course they sounded good.
The not-so-good thing was all the music that wasn’t coming from Mario franchise. After all, the film was made by the animation studio Illumination Studios, which is known for Minions movies, among other things. As I’ve understood, they have a habit of putting scenes in their movies where some licensed songs are playing. This happened to Mario as well. The mood of all these scenes suffered just because of the music. For example, while Mario is training to become stronger, Bonnie Tyler’s well-known song “I Need a Hero” plays at one point. Didn’t fit the scene. And these songs didn’t fit in the other scenes either.
The movie was really nice to watch. Even though the film has its problems, somehow the feeling it vibrates makes it possible to push the problems aside. The atmosphere was always good and there were no dull moments.
The fact that you know the game series relatively well can have a strong influence on the experience. It’s hard to imagine what some scenes in the movie look like if you don’t understand the references to the game series. For example, at the beginning of the movie, Mario and Luigi walk a couple of blocks, shot displayed from the side, dodging obstacles – just like in the old Mario games. In addition, the film is full of small references to games, be it just an object in the background or a familiar sound effect. I personally loved finding these references, and I’m sure if I ever watch the movie again, I’ll focus on them even more.
The movie also looks really good. The characters move smoothly, express a lot and the backgrounds are really detailed. The colorfulness of the film puts the viewer in a good mood.
Super Mario Bros is a super entertaining movie for the whole family. Viewers of any age can enjoy it. Mario’s adventure may not bring much new to movie history, but for fans of the games it is really nice to watch. A great experience in every way.
- Loyal to the game series while staying unique
- Mario music
- Spotting game references
- A good mood movie
- Good voice acting (even Chris Pratt!)
- The story doesn’t have much substance and doesn’t lead anywhere, because none of the things that happen really matter
- Song choices in certain scenes
- Too little of the best boy Luigi – even in the name of the movie (Super Mario Bros) the brothers are plural!