I have waited 30 years for this. I loved the 1993 disasterpiece but the new Super Mario Bros. Movie (Universal Pictures), now mostly out globally and showing today in Philippine cinemas, takes the proverbial 1-UP cake in video game film adaptations.
It is currently this year’s highest-grossing film and the highest-grossing video game-based film within just a week of its initial release in North America. In fact, the film is projected to be beating or in between the 2 Frozen films at the box office. For the uninitiated, that’s a massive feat, and Illumination literally outdid themselves as this latest adventure with Mario and the gang beats even the mighty Minions.
And by Lakitu, I frickin’ love the hell out of it.
Watch – The Super Mario Bros. Movie Official Trailer
The Super Mario Bros. Movie wastes absolutely 0 time in bringing our titular plumbers into the magical worlds Nintendo created, which is on the verge of getting decimated by a lovestruck Jack Black lookin’ Bowser. Careful attention is given to the roots of the Western concept of Mario, back when it was Captain Lou Albano introducing the wild mushroom-mashing tales of the Italian duo – they hail from Brooklyn, New York, and are raring to fix actual pipes before they’re spirited away into wonderland.
Not only that, the film is a straight-up amusement park (and Kart track!) filled with a ginormous and colorful cast of heroes and villains, both big (Funky, Cranky, and Donkey Kong) and small (Dry Bones, Shy Guy, and the Toad/s). There are references out the wazoo for both casuals and arcade fanatics, and I can rest well saying Shigeru Miyamoto could not be happier about his 42 y/o baby.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie isn’t life-changing as a 3D flick, but watching it in IMAX was worth it for all Skittles coming out of the screen. The colors were vibrant, and both the animation and visuals of the film were absolutely top-notch.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie voice cast knocked it way outta the park here, and woe to everyone who doubted Chris Pratt as Mario. While not Charles Martinet levels, Pratt actually did a fine job as Mario, putting his own spin on the character that was better than anyone could have probably imagined.
Anya Taylor-Joy’s Peach and Keegan Michael Key’s Toad rise above everyone else, but really, Jack Black’s Bowser stole the show with his now-Billboard-topping hit song, Peaches (a song he wrote himself upon the request of Illumination).
Watch – Peaches Official Music Video
A particular thing I took notice of was that the voice cast gave very distinct personalities to the beloved characters without making it about themselves – no Will-Smith-Syndrome (or The Rock Disorder) here – I could tell how faithful but original this film and all its crew wanted to be.
The score is a certified banger, filled with modern remixes of the Kondo classics (Kondo-san himself was a consultant in its development). It could be worth watching the Super Mario Bros. Movie again just to give all of the tracks a listen once again. Who knew that sticking with the source material works?
Some may balk at the thin plot and whimsical premise – fair points – however, I can for sure say those perceivable weaknesses do not distract from a great fun film that simply wants us to know that 2 Italian American brothers love each other very much and will not quit until they know the other is safe and sound. Not every movie has to be Citizen Kane, man, but this is no The Room – it is the Lawrence of Arabia of videogame movies, and it has arrived to set all box office records free and demolish (inadvertently) every competing film released in the last and coming few weeks.
Do you remember when everyone said that Mad Max was just an hour and a half of Mario Kart in the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland? Well, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is an hour and a half of Mad Max in the rainbow video game paradise of Nintendo. It doesn’t matter whether you play Mario or not – I know you know Mario. Watch it with the kids, watch it alone, watch it with a date, watch it repeatedly – I guarantee you’ll be singing the tunes going home from the theater each time and itching to fire up the ole Super Nintendo for a stage or two.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is now showing in Philippine cinemas.