Plot: “The story of The Super Mario Bros. on their journey through the Mushroom Kingdom.” -IMDB
Review: It was Christmas of 1987. Somewhere around 4 AM, I walked out into the living room. I didn’t know it, but my parents had been in bed for only a few hours. There, underneath the Christmas tree, sat a brand-new Nintendo Entertainment System. “Santa Claus must have dropped it off while I slept,” I thought.
Unable to control my excitement, my parents heard me from their bedroom. My mom exited her bedroom, checked the clock on the mantel, and told me Christmas would not begin for a few more hours. She commanded me back to bed. For four sleepless hours, I laid there dreaming of what the future would bring.
Since 1987, I have owned every Nintendo system. In that time, I have spent countless hours in the Mushroom Kingdom saving Princess Peach and defeating Bowser. When the first trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie dropped, I knew I had to see it.
Featuring a straightforward story about two plumbers dropped into a mysterious world. Separated from each other, much of the film is about Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) working to find each other and return home. It is also a film about a powerful ruler, Bowser (Jack Black) attempting to steal Princess Peach’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) kingdom and her hand in marriage or the plot to the game, Super Mario Odyssey.
The film has two primary audiences: kids and those of us who grew up with these characters. With a PG rating, it more than delivers on the promise of family friendly entertainment. With countless Easter eggs hidden throughout the story, there is plenty to keep a loyal adult audience engaged.
For myself, it was not the funniest animated movie I have ever watched, but it uses music in clever ways. It also introduces the mechanics of the world in wonderfully creative ways. Somehow, the story of two plumbers fighting alongside a princess to defeat a giant turtle and his minions makes total sense in the world the storytellers have constructed.
If the film has a fault, it is an over enthusiastic desire to include so much from the Mario story. In over 90 minutes, we get glimpses from Luigi’s Mansion, Donkey Kong, Mario Kart, Super Mario Odyssey, and much more. For someone new to this world, it can be overwhelming. Even for me, a longtime fan, it was a bit much.
In my estimation, I easily forgive this because of a couple of decisions. First, Princess Peach is anything but helpless in this story. She is powerful and the master of her domain. Second, the final showdown with Bowser is everything I wanted. Sure, it is predictable, but it was engaging, enthralling, and put the biggest smile on my face.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie gave me everything I wanted and more that I never expected. I have spent considerable time with these characters and their never-ending story. In the end, I wanted a joyful story true to the games I so dearly love. I got exactly that.
Be good to each other,
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