Do you need to play the games to enjoy The Super Mario Bros. Movie? Nope! You might even be tempted to buy one after watching.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie Synopsis
Diabolical Bowser invades the Snow Kingdom and steals the Super Star, which he believes is the perfect wedding proposal gift for Princess Peaches. In Brooklyn, brothers Mario and Luigi are despondent as their new plumping business is not taking off; worst, they blotched their first job. When Brooklyn gets flooded, Mario suggests that they offer their help as a way of improving their reputation. They end up blotching this too. Worse, they walk right into a magical portal when trapped in the sewers. Mario is whisked to the beautiful but bizarre Mushroom Kingdom. Luigi, on the other hand, ends up in a dark and ghostly forest.
Although it’s 30 years ago, and somewhat nasty to bring it up, I think it’s impossible to review The Super Mario Bros. Movie without mentioning … that.
That, as in the 1993 live-action “Mario movie” starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo. The one that Hoskin himself described as a <censored> nightmare.
I watched it on LaserDisc back then and let me put it this way. I didn’t switch off the LD player in disgust simply because I wasn’t a big fan of the games—in other words, I was disappointed but not offended/disheartened. Down the road, Super Mario Bros. (1993) and other cringeworthy video game movie adaptations like Street Fighter (1994) also cultivated in me a certain … cynicism?
Elaboration: I learned not to expect too much from video game movies, especially when they are not produced by lovers of the games. On this blog, you’d notice I rarely thrash VGMs even if they are widely panned.
This cynicism is also why I rate The Super Mario Bros. Movie 4 out of 5 stars. Long story short, I acknowledge that this is a flawed movie; imperfect in more ways than one too. But compared to what we old-timers were getting back in the 1990s, Illumination’s tribute to one of the most legendary video games ever is way, way up there in the clouds.
The characters look as they do in the games and have decent lines. The most famous BGMs and jingles of the franchise are rearranged and combined into splendid symphonies that perfectly suited the turbo-charged, flashy action.
The brilliant and gorgeous backdrops made me yearn to immediately jump on a plane for USJ’s Super Nintendo World.
And yes, I agree that the story is more a stage to honor Mario gameplay than it is a story. And that Chris Pratt’s interpretation of the plumber is per the ’85 NES hit. I.E., 2D. Luigi, Kamek, even Toad could have been given fleshier roles too.
But that same old question comes in. Do we want to watch a Mario Bros. movie for character drama and plot twists, or for action, comedy, and cuteness?
The games themselves sell on adorability and action, don’t they?
Speaking of the games, I dug out all my Mario Kart cartridges last night, and gamed way past midnight. As far as celebrating fandom is concerned, this spirited animated tribute made me wanna be part of the gang again.
Check out my other snappy movie reviews.
I thought that the movie was a lot of fun to watch. Yes, it was a bit rushed in a few points and lacked substance in the feature, but it was still a treat to watch, especially for fans of the video game property.
I think it was especially fun for the kiddies, with all the bright graphics and such. I felt very upbeat after watching. 🙂