Video games came to the big screen this week with the release of Illumination’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” in collaboration with Nintendo on April 5. After the movie was first announced last year, many fans of the franchise were left with mixed feelings due to the casting of Chris Pratt as Mario. Video games have also had notoriously bad film adaptations.
This is especially true to the “Mario” franchise – with the 1993 live action “Super Mario Bros.” It was a dark time in both video game and movie history, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 29%.
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” took the horrible video game movie adaptations trope and squashed it with a fun movie that for the most part, stays very true to the source material. Thanks to Nintendo having a direct hand in the production of the movie, it had so many small details and references Illumination likely would have missed on their own.
While it wasn’t as well received by the general movie critic population, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has been extremely well received by fans and is one of – if not the best video game movie adaption – to come out.
Contrary to the 1993 “Super Mario Bros.” where many of the cast members were reportedly showing up to set drunk and seemed miserable to be there, it is clear the voice actors for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” were having fun with their characters and enjoyed the script.
While all of the performances were spectacular, Jack Black as Bowser especially stuck out. Black truly embodied Bowser and put his all into the character. In an interview on Kelly Clarksons’ talk show, he even showed up in a full Bowser costume.
Pratt’s Mario was also shockingly good. The trailers seemed to only highlight his worst lines but while watching the movie, I was pleasantly surprised by his performance and didn’t find myself bothered by it.
Anya Taylor-Joy had an amazing performance as Princess Peach and it was nice to see Peach get a more meaningful role in the movie than being the ending objective in the mainline “Mario” games.
Illumination was the perfect studio to bring the “Mario” franchise to the big screen. Their animation style lended itself perfectly to matching up with Nintendo’s art style. They created a beautiful and intricate world packed to the brim with references to the “Mario” games. It is bright, colorful and everything you would expect from the “Mario” series.