Review | ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ smashes all haters, exceeds expectations


Nintendo and Universal Studios via AP

This image released by Nintendo and Universal Studios shows Mario, voiced by Chris Pratt, left, and Luigi, voiced by Charlie Day, in Nintendo’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”

By Nada Abdulaziz, Staff Writer

After the release of the disappointing “Super Mario Bros.” film almost exactly 30 years ago in 1993, Mario fans anticipated a fresh take on the iconic characters from directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic. It was worth the wait –– “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” released on April 5, is the product of unmatched writing, animation and casting. 

An early concern for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was the storyline. Upon the film’s announcement, many Nintendo fans expressed doubts regarding the potential plot. Past video game adaptations drew criticism for uninspired stories. Despite the expectations of failure, writer Matthew Fogel delivered a heartwarming story that is worth the wait. 

The film showcases recognizable characters — Mario’s brother Luigi and romantic interest Princess Peach. Many fans expected the film to parallel the video games, but Fogel created an original storyline with casual references to the video game instead. This made the film perfect for any audience, familiar with the video game or not. Without spoiling too much, viewers of the film will have tears in their eyes during an excellently written scene between young Luigi and Mario.

A huge chunk of the successful production of this Mario film is due to the involvement of Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the original Mario video game by Nintendo. In 2016, Miyamato met with co-producer Chris Meledandri, founder of Universal Pictures’ Illumination, and finalized the decision to work together as co-producers in 2018. The combination of Miyamoto’s originality and Meledandri’s creativity and experience as a producer led to a revolutionary film with distinct attention to detail and quality. Meledandri’s dedication to the production deserves credit — the same dedication which he lent to his other successful films such as “The Lorax,” “Despicable Me,” “Ice Age” and many more. 

With a dream team of producers, writers and directors, the fans of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” have very high expectations for the animation of the film. Those expectations are not only met, but surpassed. 

The animations took Illumination Studios more than two years to complete. Illumination underwent many updates in order to create realistic animations based on the Mario Kart games. The animators provided each character with a range of emotions to fit their personalities. Most important to Mario Kart fans, Rainbow Road 一 the final course featured in Mario Kart 一 is perfectly animated and illustrated in the film along with the iconic soundtrack. 

The film’s cast garnered controversy upon its initial announcement in 2021. Though there are no actual live actors, voice acting can make or break an animated movie. The cast included Jack Black as Bowser, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Charlie Day as Luigi, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach and Chris Pratt as Mario. Pratt’s casting shocked many fans, as most people expected Charles Martinet 一 an Italian actor who has voiced Mario in numerous games in the series since 1991 一 to play the role.

Despite the backlash Pratt received for taking on the role, he shone. Pratt channeled his authentic self to play the beloved and heroic Mario, forgoing an ingenuine Italian accent. Taylor-Joy’s performance as Peach captures the character’s peculiar and passionate personality. And Black’s hilarious interpretation of Bowser was clearly one of the producers’ best casting decisions. 

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is truly a work of art. The film’s colorful animations and vibrant music create positive energy in the theater room filled with laughter and giggles. It brings the wondrous Mushroom Kingdom to life –– audiences of all ages can enjoy the lighthearted storyline. This film is a masterpiece that can bring out the inner child of any and all viewers.