“The Super Mario Bros. Movie”: A Faithful Adaptation?

JD Szeto, Staff Writer

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was a highly-anticipated animated film that fans hoped would pioneer well-produced video game adaptations. The movie had a star-studded cast consisting of Chris Pratt (Mario), Anya Taylor-Joy (Peach), Jack Black (Bowser), Charlie Day (Luigi), Seth Rogen (Donkey Kong) and Keegan Michael-Key (Toad).

Leading up to its release, however, fans were worried that the beloved Mario franchise would be mishandled in the movie. The trailer for the film seemed generic and consisted of poor voice-acting, and the studio handling the film, Illumination, is considered by many to have been releasing disappointing movies as of late. These concerns were only amplified when critics rated the movie 58% on Rotten Tomatoes, criticizing its simple plot and boring dialogue.

Despite all these concerns, the movie made $400 million during its opening week and received an audience score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans of the franchise seemed to be pleased with the movie, and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” began to gain traction on social media through the film’s widespread popularity.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” follows Mario and Luigi, two struggling plumbers who are transported into separate fantastical worlds. Mario and Luigi try to reunite while also trying to stop Bowser from terrorizing the Mushroom Kingdom. 

Fans of the Mario franchise didn’t seem to mind the simple plot, for the film remained faithful to the source material, including many references to various aspects of the Mario universe. The source material directly inspired many sound effects, visual details and music, rewarding those who grew up with Mario games. The film truly seems to be produced by people who cared for the franchise and respected the fans.

The film also has great visuals. The movie’s animation is expressive and dynamic, often utilizing long shots to showcase its chaotic side. The smooth style of character movement seems to be inspired straight from the games, giving the action a magical and fluid feel. The strong visuals paired with the iconic music from the original games allow major action scenes to be powerful and nostalgic for the viewers.

The characters, on the other hand, were generic. Luigi was sidelined for most of the film. The voice acting for some characters, like Mario, left more to be desired. Furthermore, the characters lacked nuance and growth. Although the film’s target audience was children, producers could have developed some of the characters more to make the film more appealing to adults who had grown up with the Mario franchise.

Overall, the movie is entertaining for those who love the Mario franchise. Mario fans will notice tons of details and references, and the action and music are enough to keep the audience immersed. This movie’s success may encourage Nintendo to pursue more film adaptations of its games and could change the videogame film landscape forever.