Super Mario Bros movie is a reference-filled joyride


Dylan Barbeau, Features Writer

After the financial and critical failure of “Super Mario Bros.” in 1993, Nintendo withdrew from making movies based on popular franchises for over 20 years. The next movie based on a Nintendo property would be “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” in 2019, and they weren’t even involved in production. It may be due to “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu” making decent money at the box office, but Nintendo tried again when they partnered with Illumination, the animation studio under Universal Studios, to make “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”

One thing that the movie is really good at doing is having references to the Mario franchise. The amount of references, whether straightforward, in the background, or even in the score, is truly astonishing. The best part is none of it feels forced. They all feel like they come from a place of genuine love. 

Another thing that the movie did well overall was that the majority of the performances were good, with the standout being Jack Black as Bowser. He manages to be both hilarious and threatening at the same time. Surprisingly, Chris Pratt as Mario wasn’t as bad as people thought it would be. He works as a toned-down Mario. However, there are a couple of performances that weren’t as good as the others. Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong and Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong were probably the two weakest performances. Rogen just uses his normal voice the whole movie, and Armisen isn’t even trying to sound older.

 The biggest problem the movie has is the pacing. There is no time to breathe from Mario arriving in the Mushroom Kingdom to him fighting Donkey Kong. While this may help the movie not feel boring, we also don’t get many character moments, which could make the movie better overall.

Another problem is the licensed music. There is an overabundance and the original score for the movie would work much better. The worst instance is during the establishing scene for the Kong Kingdom having a melody of various Donkey Kong themes made for it, but it was dropped in favor of “Take on Me.”

Overall, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is a fun ride all around for children and Mario fans alike, with the pacing issues and odd song choices keeping it from being really great. Just don’t go expecting a masterpiece of cinema.