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  • Writer's pictureNoah Yard

Super Mario Bros Movie: A Review You Can Trust.

This isn’t like all the other, negative, pompous reviews for the Super Mario Bros Movie. This is a review from a die-hard fan. I’ve had every Nintendo Console from the GameCube onward, I’ve logged in countless hours of Mario Bro’s, Zelda, and don’t get me started on how many hours of Animal Crossing I’ve played. So you can trust my judgement of this movie when I say… It was a friggen joy to experience.

It starts off a little strange, in Brooklyn, and Mario has a whole Mario family. Which is strange to think about because, well, of course he does. But it was a bold choice to include original characters like Mario and Luigi’s mum and Dad. But still this opening sequence is slightly offputting. Thank god it doesn’t take long before we are sucked into the Mushroom Kingdom, and the adventure really begins.

I won’t spoil the fun too much, but I will say that the story is just like any other Mario game, Bowser wants Peach and Power Stars in order to conquer the world. It’s a simple premise and it doesn’t need to be hugely different from the games, that’s not what we’re here for. At least not me. I’m there for the nostalgia, the feeling of finally bringing the characters I love so much to life, and this movie does that.

As soon as we enter Mushroom Kingdom and the Kong kingdom the audience is practically overwhelmed with references, easter eggs and gags. For instance, Mario enters through an underground tunnel, and the music, ever so subtle, changes to that signature “Denum denum denum,” that is the music from all underground levels in classic Mario games. It’s a super satisfying little detail.

That, for me, was the joy of the movie, to uncover all the little secrets, or experience the in your face references. The music for me was great, it sort of had the blockbuster spin but inside every booming chorus was the whisper of songs from Mario games past. I think I’ll keep most of the other easter eggs a secret so that viewers can try and find them for themselves, but I will share my favourite two: Luigi’s message alert sound is the opening start up noise from the original GameCube (I squealed), and when Donkey Kong is introduced the original, totally not tacky rap from Donkey Kong 64 plays. Genius!

The characters are also fully realised, and not just mimics of the game going “Itsa me Mario,” and peach doesn’t bake any cakes. They behave in ways that neatly push the basic story forward, while still maintaining the essence of the characters. Mario is heroic, Bowser is diabolical, and Luigi is a little scaredy cat.

And the voice cast did an EXCELLENT job. I was a bit worried that they’d cast A-

listers for the role just to add to the hype. I feel like with a lot of animations these days the focus is on how big a name can you get to play the lead, not who is best for the part. But all of the cast, Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, Anya Taylor-Joy and especially Jack Black did amazing jobs making these characters real. I forgot I was listening to Chris Pratt when Mario was talking, to be honest, and that’s what you want. When I was listening to these characters, I was fully immersed. Except for Donkey Kong. When he talked I was just thinking… That’s Seth Rogan.

Let’s talk about some of the nifty ways the movie makes an effort to feel like a video game hybrid.

In the first few minutes, Mario and Luigi are late for a plumbing job. To get to their destination on foot they needed to jump duck and dive through obstacles, and we watch this from the side view, so it looks like we are watching a section of side-scrolling videogame action. Similarly, Princess Peach sets up an obstacle course for Mario and it had a real platformer feel as you watch him try (and fail) to get up to that finishing flag.

So the action was great, and accompanied by the music and the stunning animation style all work to create a great videogame movie. And also a fun kids' movie! I saw it in a theatre full of kids and it was a hoot! They sounded like they were having fun.

Now this movie has been a surprising cash cow for its creators earning big bucks at the box office, so it’s fair to assume a sequel could be on the horizon. Now’s the part when I get to speculate WILDLY about what we could see next.

· The little Lumalee in Bowser’s dungeon could suggest some Super Mario Galaxy hijinks?

· The Kong Empire could lead to a Donkey Kong spinoff as we saw the crew from Donkey Kong 64.

· There were some great sequences with Luigi in a dark forest, surrounded by Shy Guys and Drybones. He was carrying his signature flashlight, and King Boo made a cameo. Could we be leading up to Luigi’s Mansion???

· The inclusion of Rainbow Road and Mario Kart Elements could open us up to a whole new set of characters from the Mario Kart world like Wario or Daisy.

· It’s fair to say, with its success, we could be headed toward an NCU, NINTENDO CINEMATIC UNIVERSE. With Zelda, Star Fox and Metroid, we could get a Smash Brothers movie (my version of Infinity War.)

· And of course SPOILERS!!!! There’s the egg and signature noise in the post-credits scene that lets us know that YOSHI is definitely coming in some way.

So that is my wrap-up of the Super Mario Bros Movie, a great, referential, and colourful piece of cinema that I believe is far better than what the critics are saying. It was fun! Go see it.

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