The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Verdict: This fun animation is a sure-fire hit for kids, adults, gamers and non-gamers alike.

  • Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jack Black
  • April 5th 2023
  • Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic

Mario teams up with Princess Peach, Toad and Donkey Kong to rescue Luigi and stop Bowser from destroying the Mushroom Kingdom.

After finding success with the Despicable Me, Sing and The Secret Life of Pets films, the Illumination studio has turned its hand to adapting Nintendo’s Mario video games.

Naturally, the story stars plumbers Mario and Luigi (voiced by Chris Pratt and Charlie Day) who are transported into a magical world one day via a green pipe.

Unfortunately, during their journey, they get separated, with Mario going to the Mushroom Kingdom and Luigi ending up in the Dark Lands, which are ruled by Bowser (Jack Black).

Mario befriends Toad (Keegan-Michael Key) in the kingdom and together they implore Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) to help them rescue Luigi from Bowser’s clutches.

She allows them to tag along on her mission to confront Bowser and stop him from destroying her home.

Fans of the Mario games will get such a thrill out of seeing all the nods, references and Easter eggs packed into this film. There are so many, you might not be able to catch them all on your first watch.

Various video game elements and music are incorporated into the film in a very creative and clever way.

Some are subtle while others are borrowed quite obviously, such as a Mario Kart race down Rainbow Road or an obstacle-filled run resembling the Super Mario Bros. platform game.

However, don’t worry if you’re completely new to the Mario world. While the film may not be quite as exciting, it is still very enjoyable regardless.

It is packed with humour, slapstick comedy, amazing new worlds and several action sequences.

Plus, the film is only 90 minutes long so it absolutely flies by. It could have easily been 10-15 minutes longer as it felt a little rushed at the end.

There is no weak link in the voice cast but the most outstanding member is Black as Bowser.

The way his voice can switch from a deep, gravelly roar to a high, feminine register made him perfect for the part. He is hilarious and brings the most laughs.

There was backlash when Pratt was announced as Mario. You’ll be pleased to know that he doesn’t attempt the over-exaggerated Italian accent (although it appears sporadically) and he doesn’t even sound like himself most of the time.

But the voice worked and was easily accepted after the first few minutes.

Out of the characters, the weakest is Peach, simply because she isn’t written as well as some of the others.

She is a straight character in a sea of comic ones and it felt like less effort had been given to jazz up her lines so they were often cliched and flat.

However, Taylor-Joy does her best to convey Peach’s sense of fearlessness despite the lacklustre dialogue.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a sure-fire hit for kids, adults, gamers and non-gamers alike.

In cinemas from Wednesday 5th April.

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