It’s-a-me, Mario!

Its-a-me, Mario!

Daniel Torrillo

In 1993, a live-action film adaptation of the Super Mario Bros was released starring Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leugizamo as Luigi. The film was panned by critics and bombed at the box office due to its complete lack of faithfulness to the source material and weak storytelling. 30 years later, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto decided to make another feature length Mario film, this time as an animated film with the help of Illumination, known for films like Despicable Me and Sing. This movie stayed completely faithful to the video game series, though to be honest, a little too faithful.



The Super Mario Bros Movie tells the story of Mario and Luigi as two failed plumbers in Brooklyn. One day, the two of them go through a warp pipe that takes them to all sorts of bizarre worlds. Mario is sent to the mushroom kingdom while Luigi is sent to the Darklands, where the evil warlord Bowser is planning to take over the world and marry the mushroom kingdom’s leader, Princess Peach. With the help of Princess Peach and several other iconic video game characters, such as Toad and Donkey Kong, Mario must save his brother and defeat Bowser. 



In my opinion, The Super Mario Bros Movie was just okay. Though the film was very faithful to the Super Mario franchise and had tons of references to the video games in it, I felt that it prioritized that over every other aspect of the film, such as character development. For instance, Bowser was given no back story that would drive him towards being a villain and Toad really serves no purpose to the plot other than being a character in the original game. 

Another complaint I had with this movie is that the pacing was way too fast. For example, Mario, Peach and Toad have to journey to Cranky Kong’s kingdom to ask for his help to defeat Bowser, only for the journey to be a very short montage consisting of a bunch of references to the video games. Also, there is a scene in the opening scene about how Mario and Luigi’s father doesn’t think that either one of them will be successful. This happens for less than five minutes and never comes back again in the film until the end when Mario and Luigi defeat Bowser right in front of their parents. If certain things had been fleshed out more, this movie would have been even better.


And to get the elephant out of the room, the celebrity voice cast. The voice actor that takes the cake in this movie was Jack Black as Bowser. He really put so much enthusiasm and energy into the character which made him very charming and fun to watch. I appreciated Charlie Day’s performance as Luigi and even though Toad was pointless, Keegan Michael Key did a great job voicing him. Chris Pratt on the other hand was the wrong choice to play Mario. Even though his italian accent sounded slightly better than it did in the trailers, it still felt somewhat weak and can’t compete with Mario’s voice actor from the games, Charles Martinet. Many feel that Martient should have played Mario, having voiced the character since 1991, but Chris Pratt was cast due to being the star of  big box office blockbusters such as “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Jurassic World.” Seth Rogen’s voice was also out of fit to play Donkey Kong and Anya Taylor-Joy was only okay as Princess Peach. 



To sum it all up, “The Super Mario Bros Movie” feels like a video game come to life that is sure to put smiles on little kid’s faces, but it definitely could have been better.