The Super Mario Bros. Movie: A Super Review


Still from The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Hannah McClintock, Staff Reporter

The Super Mario Bros Movie was produced by Illumination and Nintendo. Illumination’s movie roster consists of Sing, The Secret Life of Pets, Minions, and The Grinch (2017). The following movies have a common trait: fart jokes and a poor storyline. This factor made audience’s quite nervous when the first trailer of The Mario Movie was released. 

Thankfully, the first teaser was dramatic, the animation was flawless, and little-to-no potty humor! This pattern followed for the following three teaser trailers.

Folks all over the internet started to notice how much detail had gone into each trailer. From the individual stitching that can be found on Mario’s hat to the scales on Bowser’s arms, it appeared as though Illumination had put loads of time and effort into this new project of theirs.

The Super Mario Bros Movie was then released in theaters on April 5th, and let me say, the reviews made me nervous. I watched the movie, and fortunately, it was nothing like the reviews. 

The movie follows the basic premise of Mario and Luigi, who fall into a warp pipe and separate while “teleporting”. Mario wants to save his brother Luigi, and Princess Peach wants to save her kingdom from the evil Bowser. 

Bowser is the movie’s main antagonist. He steals a super star in the beginning of the film and plans to overtake the world in order to win Peach’s affection. The mushroom princess Peach does not want his affection, so she must stop him from destroying the world.

The movie, even from the opening shot, has so much detail rooted in everything. You can see the individual snowflakes on the ground as Bowser takes the superstar. Another factor that this movie nails is making crowded areas actually feel crowded. 

In movies, it’s important to make sure that large city scenes are full of people to sell this idea of the city. The Mario Movie performs this idea perfectly, since there are quite a few locations where the movie must sell the idea of commotion. At one point, Mario and Toad walk through the Mushroom Kingdom while trying to find Princess Peach’s castle, and you can slow down this movie frame by frame and still find new details. This movie obviously was made with passion, since Illumination and Nintendo could’ve easily made this a cash grab. As a Mario fan, I had a wonderful time picking out details on my own time.

The soundtrack to this movie is simply fantastical, yet another sign this movie was made with love. Besides some songs, namely “Thunderstruck” by ACDC, which felt out of place, the soundtrack is mindblowing. The composers to this soundtrack, Brian Tyler and Koji Kondo, took the original music from the games and mushed them with some instrumentals, and I almost had tears in my eyes because the music was just so captivating!

I’d like to talk about the characters. As an avid player of all Mario games, I was so curious as to how they’d translate Mario and the Gang to the big screen. The movie directors, Aaron Horvath and Micheal Jelenic, make the characters feel alive. The two directors make Mario and Luigi feel real human emotions, such as fear, anger, sadness, and despair. The viewer would watch as Mario’s face would morph from happy-go-lucky to confused and upset, which is something that made the characters all that more ‘alive’. The characters were able to convey their emotion because the dialogue felt natural, not at all forced or corny, and the animation helped convey all these emotions that the characters felt to the audience. To me, this helped sell the idea of real-life characters.

As great as this movie is, there is one fatal flaw: the pacing. In a movie, especially a children’s animated movie, there must be a somewhat fast pacing to keep the audience from becoming bored. This movie’s pacing is quick and fast, which has its flaws. Firstly, the quick pacing of the movie makes the scenes lose their importance, or the audience can’t feel the stakes. This isn’t really helping the movie in any way, since the audience watching must understand why a character is feeling scared before moving onto the next scene. What this movie is missing is about one to two seconds for the audience to digest the scene before being pulled into the next.

Due to the quick pacing of the film, it feels like some characters aren’t getting the proper amount of screen time. For example, Toad is in the movie for a little over half the run time, but the audience never watched a scene where Toad is having a proper “these stakes are huge” moment, if you will. Since hardly any characters get a scene just to themselves, it makes the characters feel empty or half-developed.

Overall, this movie is a definite watch. It’s fun for all ages, and it doesn’t shove nostalgia into the face of older viewers. I would go on to say this is one of the best-looking animation films of 2023. The plot and movie moves too quickly, but if you are willing to overlook that, the movie is a definite watch! The theater that I was in had so many children and adults laughing at every joke, and I found that I was entertained the entire movie. This movie is such a great experience, and I recommend watching it. 4.5 out of 5 stars!