Normally I’d start a review like this with a general statement about the movie, but I know what everyone thinks about The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Yes, Chris Pratt is voicing Mario. Also, yes, he doesn’t sound that much like the classic Charles Martinet voice that we’ve grown up with. Good thing this is a movie and not a Mario video game. Because Chris Pratt does a fine job as Mario in this movie. They even make a joke about him and Charlie Day‘s voices as Mario and Luigi.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can get to all the fun and majesty of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. We’re on a bit of a hot streak with video games being turned into movies and series. We actually got a fun Sonic The Hedgehog movie, after all. If you’re going into The Super Mario Bros. Movie and you’re a Nintendo fan that loves the games, this movie will work for you. It’s a loving look at all things Mushroom Kingdom and features plenty of little details that’ll put a smile on your face. Just looking at the backgrounds and vistas is entertaining.

The Cast Is Exquisite Especially Jack Black

Bowser and the Power Star from The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Courtesy of: Universal Pictures

The rest of the cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, and Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek. Starting off with Peach, she’s fantastic. She captures the bubbly exuberance from the video games but also adds a badass wrinkle to the character. We even get a bit of a backstory on how Princess Peach got to the Mushroom Kingdom and how she became Princess.

Jack Black is going to be excellent in anything. If you give him the reigns and tell him to voice a giant turtle dinosaur that has the hots for Princess Peach, he’s going to give you gold. You get everything you’d want here, he sings, he’s angry, and he’s hilarious. The animators did a great job of capturing his facial expressions and putting him on Bowser without fundamentally changing the look of the character.

Donkey Kong and Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Courtesy of: Universal Pictures

Charlie Day and Chris Pratt are great together as Mario and Luigi. They do enough that’s similar and familiar to the original voices but add their own wrinkle. You get all the classic scared Luigi lines here, and more than enough to make you want a full-fledged Luigi’s Mansion movie. Pratt adds his trademarked “everyman” feel to Mario, and it works so damn well.

Finally, Fred Armisen and Seth Rogen both shine as Cranky Kong and Donkey Kong. Each of these performances is so great, that it’s incredibly easy to see Universal and Nintendo ordering spinoffs for Luigi, Peach, and the Kongs. Seth Rogen even does his trademark laugh, which is gut-busting coming out of Donkey Kong.

Laughs For Kids, But Plenty For Adults In The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Luigi in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Courtesy of: Universal Pictures

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is perfect for kids. There are plenty of physical jokes that’ll make any age-range laugh. Someone slipping on a banana peel and crashing their kart made me howl like a 5-year-old. For those looking for some jokes that might go over the heads of young-ones and straight to adults, this isn’t the movie for you. Everything is pretty squeaky clean, but still finds a way to be funny.

The one area in which The Super Mario Bros. Movie falters is the plot structure and story. It’s pretty stock for a movie like this. If you’ve seen a kingdom-spanning adventure film before, you’ve seen the plot for The Super Mario Bros. Movie. However, that shouldn’t take too much away from the movie. Just because the classic adventure plot isn’t broken, doesn’t mean that it needs to be fixed. The film is just over 90 minutes long, which is great for kids, it’ll keep their attention, but that means that some characters don’t get a lot of time to work with. Donkey Kong and Cranky Kong have a subplot about gaining each other’s respect that’s glossed over very fast.

It’s a similar situation with Mario and his family that really doesn’t have a great resolution. It’s just thrown on at the end of the film. There’s a bit of the human world in the film that really only serves to get the story going and nothing else. If the movie was a bit longer, these relationships outside the main characters could have been fleshed out a bit more.

Nintendo Fans Will Cherish This Movie

Princess Peach and Toad in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Courtesy of: Universal Pictures

There’s enough to love about The Super Mario Bros. Movie to overcome some of the faults. Nintendo fans have plenty of easter eggs, small details, and the entire Mushroom Kingdom to enjoy. For kids, this one will be perfect, and it’s entertaining enough for parents who have never played a Mario game to enjoy. It might not be a revolutionary movie, but it is exactly what you would expect out of a Super Mario Bros. movie.

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