Opinion – Review of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”

Jakob Ross

This may come as a shock, but “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has got to be one of the best video game movies to ever hit the big screen. There, I said it. Both the beautiful animation and the movie’s star-studded cast delivering strong and entertaining portrayals of beloved characters helped bring the Mushroom Kingdom to life. I know eight-year-old me would love seeing this in a theater for the first time. 

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is by far the best-looking Illumination film to come out. That statement coming from me says a lot. For years, I never seemed to like any of the films Illumination put out, from “The Grinch” to “Sing,” “Despicable Me” to “The Lorax,” they all have the same barebones format, and all looked bad. Because of this, Illumination has never sat well with me. 

Despite Illumination’s history, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” manages to have surprisingly beautiful animation. I actually forgot it was an Illumination film until the credits rolled and the studio name appeared on the screen. I feel like this shift is due to the animators working hard to bring these iconic characters to life without altering any of their signature designs. 

The comedic aspects of the film can be hit or miss with many audience members, for it is clearly directed toward children. But there is enough content for adults to enjoy that they can leave the theater truly satisfied, especially for the die-hard Jack Black fans out there. 

Perhaps the biggest controversy surrounding the Mario adaptation is Chris Pratt, who voiced the lead in this film. Although I too was very concerned about his portrayal, I was very surprised by his performance in the film. Honestly, I was blown away by how well he stuck to the character. 

Of course, he does give it his own spin, but I think it really fits the film. He doesn’t attempt to redo the iconic voice of Charles Martinet and I can respect Pratt for that. Although there are some cringe-worthy one-liners from him, I think the writers are more to blame for this than Pratt. 

I feel like the marketing for this film was not done very well. The trailers included several lines where Pratt says iconic phrases in a Mario accent, which were all heavily criticized on the internet. But over half of the lines in the trailer seem to be redubbed in the film, which actually makes them sound a lot better. 

One could theorize that they were trying to market the film poorly so it would garner discussion similar to that of “Sonic the Hedgehog,” but I feel like they just had a lot of takes to swap out. I mean, they did record the entire movie over Zoom. 

This article would be incomplete without mentioning Jack Black, who singlehandedly manages to steal every single scene his character, Bowser, is in. I could not believe my eyes. My jaw would drop and there were tears in my eyes from laughing so hard during his scenes. 

Jack Black’s performance deserves every bit of praise. Bowser somehow manages to be both frightening and silly at the same time, which fits perfectly into the Mario universe. 

As the credits rolled, my face was aching from smiling so much. As I walked out of the theater, my eyes were wide with so much excitement about what I had just witnessed. A good video game movie? That is seriously rare to come across. 

This movie got me so excited about the Mario franchise that when I returned home, I immediately pulled out my Switch and purchased the most recent Mario game. Stomping Goombas, punching blocks and fighting to defeat Jack Black (I mean Bowser) has never been more exciting.

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