Let’s-A-Go see ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’!

Despite a lack of Yoshi, the film is nostalgic and creative


Courtesy of IMDb

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” earns an 8/10 from Ally Werstler.

Ally Werstler, Staff Writer

The year 2008 was a defining time in my life. I was a nerdy 6 year old who adored Pokémon and Mario. For Chanukah and Christmas that year, I received my most prized possession, a Nintendo Wii. With this console came two games: “Wii Sports” and “Super Mario Galaxy.” It’s safe to say that I was hooked from the start, as my constant gameplay of “Super Mario Galaxy” even contributed to an improvement of my reading skills (there was a lot of dialogue in the game!). As such, Mario played a big part in my childhood, as he did with billions of other kids and adults across the globe. 

When I found out that the animation studio Illumination (a subset of Universal Studios) was in the process of making a Super Mario Bros. movie, I was skeptical. How could you blame me? The original 1993 “Super Mario Bros.” was horrendous and accumulated endless amounts of hate from its fanbase and critics. Adding to my anxiety was the fact that Illumination’s catalog is a mixed bag with wonderful features like “Despicable Me” and horrible ones like “The Secret Life of Pets.” 

Although I tried to ignore the trailers and negative press, I was inevitably flooded with such news across every social media platform imaginable. The coupling of the cringey trailers with the Chris Pratt memes surely set this movie up to be a laughing stock. However, because of my nostalgic love for Mario, I still eagerly bought my ticket to the film just hoping for a good time. Well, believe it or not, I not only got through “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” unscathed, but I actually really enjoyed it. 

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: Chris Pratt as Mario. Would it have been annoying to feature the regular hyper-Italian Mario voice for the entire film? Yes. Does Chris Pratt do a good job of making the Mario voiceover his own? No. There are endless amounts of talented voice actors who could have done an awesome job with this role, but of course, Chris Pratt had to land the part. For the entirety of the movie, the guy goes back and forth between a bad Brooklyn and a cheesy Italian accent. Chris, my man, just choose one or the other! 

Luckily, the rest of the voice cast does a good  job of making these beloved characters their own. I especially liked how Anya Taylor-Joy made Princess Peach a relatively non-cringe girl boss (take notes, Marvel). Charlie Day and Keegan Michael-Key do an awesome job in their respective roles as the shy Luigi and cute Toad, with me departing after the credits wishing they had more screen time. Even Seth Rogan, who I usually find insufferable, is great as the narcissistic and fun Donkey Kong. 

Jack Black shines as Bowser, the king of the koopas. (Courtesy of IMDb)

However, the best part of the film is hands down Jack Black’s portrayal of the evil king of the Koopas, Bowser. Black pours his heart and soul into his performance of the crazy, love-struck, fire-breathing, giant talking turtle. I adore the fact that Bowser’s entire personality was literally just him wanting to impress Princess Peach in hopes of winning over her heart. No spoilers, but there is an extra special scene in which we get a glimpse of Black’s love ballad abilities. As such, it’s safe to say that this star-studded cast mostly makes up for Pratt’s lackluster performance. 

In terms of the storyline, well, there isn’t much of one. Here’s the thing, when one goes into a Mario game, do they expect to experience life-altering gameplay like “The Last of Us”? Of course they don’t because they’re playing Mario. These same standards apply to “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” as viewers are there to see Mario characters both old and new interact on the big screen. As such, if someone is not a fan of Mario, then they will probably not enjoy this film. This movie is clearly made for both older and younger fans, as shown in the makeup of my audience being children and adults. 

Coming into “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” there was one thing that I needed: a Mario Kart scene. I LOVE Mario Kart, and you better believe that I have all of the characters unlocked on the original Wii console, so you can basically call me a pro. To say the least, if you did not play Mario Kart in 2008, you weren’t cool. Anyways, I was delighted by the film’s iconic Mario Kart scene that takes place on Rainbow Road. On the topic of the film’s beautiful rendition of Rainbow Road, I can safely say that these visuals are impressive from beginning to end. We also get to see some sequences featuring other familiar Mario worlds, including that of Dry Dry Desert, the Penguin Kingdom and the Mushroom Kingdom. The inventive ways in which animators include iconic gameplay moments, mostly through obstacle courses and battles, are also super creative. 

However, the music that accompanies such scenes is incredibly confusing. Excluding Bowser’s song and Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero,” the heavily featured 80s rock lineup is simply not compatible with the scenes at hand. Luckily, the instrumental soundtrack is wonderful, as it features remixed versions of classic Mario tunes. My only complaint regarding this aspect of the film is the fact that these instrumental songs should have been more heavily included instead of terrible music choices like A-ha’s “Take on Me” (yes, that was seriously in the movie).

I had a great time watching the nostalgia-filled “Super Mario Bros. Movie,” and if you’re a Mario fan, you will, too.  

I have one last complaint: WHERE WAS MY BOY YOSHI? I’m sorry, but Illumination did us so dirty by excluding everyone’s favorite adorable green dinosaur from this film. Although his appearance is hinted at for the inevitable sequel, he should have been utilized in “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” Speaking of sequels, I am so excited to see the further expansion of the Mario universe on the big screen. There are endless amounts of stories that they can tell, with my most desired films being recreations of the terrifying “Super Mario 64,” the admirable “Luigi’s Mansion” and the beloved “Super Mario Galaxy.” Overall, I had a great time watching the nostalgia-filled “Super Mario Bros. Movie,” and if you’re a Mario fan, you will, too.