Rob Reviews "The Super Mario Bros. Movie"
I’d like to pull the proverbial curtain back a little bit for you.
I have been reviewing films, stage productions, and even television shows semi-professionally now for almost twelve years. Doing anything for that long can change the way one sees things, and I was starting to feel that it was happening to me. Last year specifically, I was wondering if I was starting to get cynical in my view of film with a LOT of films winding up in the middle of the pack when it came to my end-of-year list. And then 2023 happened.
This year, film has started STRONG. I have been finding myself enjoying the films I am seeing for the most part with about two-thirds of my list so far really battling it out for position. From fantasy to drama to comedy to action, I seem to have found that spark that reminds me why I do this, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie has continued that trend.
Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) have just branched out on their own as plumbers with a dream of making their family proud. Shen trying to help stop a water main break in Brooklyn, they wind up deep underground which sucks them into a sewer pipe that transports them to the world we all know and love from the video games. It is there that they are separated as Luigi is captured in the Dark Lands and brought before Bowser (Jack Black), who is slowly taking over all the kingdoms after getting the Invincibility Star. His larger goal is to make it to the Mushroom Kingdom to marry his love in Princess Peach (Naya Taylor-Joy). Peach wants no part of Bowser and after meeting Mario (Chris Pratt), they become partners to fight Bowser with some very familiar cohorts.
I am not going to go into the history of this franchise outside of the video games, but it hasn’t been great with more lowlights than highlights. I am not saying that it set my bar low for The Super Mario Bros. Movie, but I definitely gave it some room to grow. I am also happy to say that it didn’t need it. Matthew Fogel brings a script that features more Easter Eggs than a city park in April, and that is a good thing (I guarantee that even I didn’t catch all of them), while directors Aaron Horvath and Michal Jelenic (who also worked together on Teen Titans GO!) bring the absolute best out of this voice cast that also includes legend Kevin Michael Richardson, Khary Payton, Sebastian Maniscalco, Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Armisen, and Seth Rogen. There are even a couple of Nintendo legends of voice work in there too, making this film that much better.
Even the score here from veteran composer Brian Tyler helped keep me in the morning with subtle movements that gave nod to each and every phase of Mario’s career and legacy that already has me looking to own the soundtrack (another trend that has kicked up for me in the last six months or so). Couple that with nods to not only the games proper but even the games that take the characters into other activities, and this is a non-stop-smile-fest that had me clapping, laughing, and celebrating each and every moment in this fast-paced action and adventure family-friendly film.
Even if you only have a basic knowledge of the source material, do not let that keep you away from The Super Mario Bros. Movie. I cannot wait to get back to a theater to see it again, even in a premium format to try and catch more things I may have missed the first time and enjoy it with a packed house to watch others experience it for the first time. As much as I will enjoy this again on Blu-Ray, it is FULLY worth seeing on the big screen to take in everything that it is on every level.