“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is a nostalgic trip down memory lane


Ryan Lam, Staff writer

Set in the vibrant and magical land of the vast Mushroom Kingdom, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” touches on the classic save-the-princess plotline, blending in a range of fiery power-ups and quirky creatures. The use of iconic musical themes and sound effects from the video game franchise also captivates the audience, helping create a sense of urgency and excitement. With its nostalgic callbacks to the mystical locations and stunning visual effects, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is an almost perfect animated adaptation of the original game.

Following a major manhole leak on the news, Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) venture into the sewage network to repair it. However, their attempt to fix the leak takes an unforeseen turn when they are sucked into a warp pipe, resulting in their separation. Mario finds himself in the Mushroom Kingdom, ruled by Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), while Luigi is thrown into the Dark Lands, where he is taken prisoner by the villainous Koopa king Bowser (Jack Black) and his army of Koopa Troopas, a species of anthropomorphic turtles. With the stakes set high, Mario, Peach and Toad (Keegan-Michael Key) ally with Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen) and the primate Kongs, hoping to repel Bowser’s rule and restore order to the land. 

Although the movie’s storyline is conventional and employs a frequently used concept, each character displays an entertaining personality, fleshed out with exposition, with the voice cast reflecting the characterizations impressively. I particularly liked the initial introductory scene where Francis, the pet golden retriever of a Brooklyn couple, started to attack Mario and Luigi while wrecking the bathroom’s entire foundation, as it had me dying of laughter and illustrated the brothers’ unsuccessful plumbing business. 

While the film was around 92 minutes long and fast-paced, I felt that the directors handled each character’s screen time effectively. As a viewer, I got to see the parallels between Bowser’s emotional yet comedic marriage proposal to an action scene of Mario’s one-sided duel in a catsuit against Donkey Kong. Over time, the film weaves these humorous, emotional and action scenes together, further progressing the plot and expressing the importance of brotherhood through Mario and Luigi’s eventful reunion. 

Given the movie’s simple plot structure and predictable closure, the directors were still able to provide the characters with enough room to develop, ranging from Luigi learning to stand up for himself and Mario to Bowser embracing his role as monarch rather than persistently fawning over Peach. The use of humor is highlighted further through the side cast with Lumalee’s (Juliet Jelenic) death obsession and sadistic nature toward Bowser’s various prisoners. Moreover, the hidden Nintendo easter eggs, such as Baby Mario and Baby Luigi, added to the familiarity of the film, enhancing the experience for longtime fans. Toward the end, I especially resonated with Mario and Luigi’s fight scene back in Brooklyn as they finally received the recognition and encouragement they deserved from those that wronged them and doubted their abilities to succeed. 

As this movie is based on a video game, it does a fantastic job merging aspects of both the real and fantasy world to craft a cinematic piece of art. From the nostalgic cameos from fan-favorite characters to the accurate representation of the source material, seeing “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is a thrilling and memorable experience. This movie is a must-watch for viewers looking for comedy and adventure in a supernatural world of cartoons.