Review “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”: The Biggest Animated Hit of 2023

We are short on words to describe the emotions that the most sensational animated project of the year has generated. This is our review on "Super Mario Bros. The Movie".

Still from the movie 'Super Mario Bros. The Movie'

Photo: Universal Pictures

LatinAmerican Post | Yolanda González Madrid

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Leer en español: Reseña “Super Mario Bros. La Película”: El mayor éxito animado del 2023

Regardless of the video game, what person doesn't know who is that famous red-robed plumber named Mario? It is an icon of pop culture, which, although it had its greatest recognition in the eighties and nineties, its popularity has not decreased over the years. Now Illumination, in association with Nintendo and Universal Pictures, has brought "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" to the big screen, a film that represents everything exciting about this franchise.

It is curious to know that, to date, this is the third adaptation for the cinema of Mario Bros. In 1986 a film was released in Japanese anime format, while in 1993 they made a live action version that passed with more pain than glory. And it is that after this last commercial and critical failure, Nintendo chose to protect the right to grant licenses of its products for cinematographic purposes.

However, over time the creator of the saga, Shigeru Miyamoto, became interested in bringing Mario back to the big screen. After meeting Illumination founder Chris Meledandri, the two began planning a CGI-format film that would attract the attention of fans of all ages. That was how production got underway in 2020.

What Is " The Super Mario Bros. Movie" About?

If you enjoyed the video game, you surely know all the characters in this franchise. The plot centers on the brothers Mario and Luigi, who have a plumbing business in New York. However, after trying to fix a leak in the city's sewers, they are both sucked into a pipe and taken to realms unknown. There, Mario will try to rescue his brother from the clutches of Bowser, the King of the Koopas who plans to marry Princess Peach and thus conquer the Mushroom Kingdom.

Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic are the directors of "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," working from a script by Matthew Fogel and produced by Meledandri and Miyamoto. The original voice cast features contributions from the likes of Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jack Black, Charlie Day, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen, and Keegan-Michael Key.

Read also: Politics as the Protagonist of "Captain America: New World Order"

A Movie Made for Fans

Reviews from professionals and specialized portals such as Rotten Tomatoes were mostly quite negative. But despite that, the public (and true fans) responded to expectations and was present in movie theaters in the United States, Latin America and the rest of the world. It should be noted that the film became the best debut in the history of an animated film by raising 368 million dollars in its first three days, in addition to being the best cinematic opening so far in 2023.

The production is an unforgettable journey, full of fascinating colors and with a simple story, but with just enough nostalgia for lovers of the saga to enjoy it to the fullest. In fact, the hour and a half of duration goes by in the blink of an eye, since it is an entertaining bet that serves as an extensive video game in which Mario and Luigi make references to their origins on Nintendo consoles.

In this sense, "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is not complicated when it comes to paying tributes with iconic moments from the video game. Beyond the naive jokes that are never lacking, both the photography and the soundtrack play their role perfectly so that the viewer feels inside the story. Precisely, the musical section is in charge of Kōji Kondō, a Japanese composer recognized for his contributions to the video game sagas "Super Mario Bros" and "The Legend of Zelda".

Regarding the story, one of the high points is that they give background to the main characters and personality to everyone, in general. The script was well-structured to the point of knowing how to explain certain unknowns, such as the reason Bowser hates Mario or why Mario wants to save the Mushroom Kingdom. That's important for those who are not as regulars of the franchise.

Likewise, the division of opinions becomes strong when we talk about the contribution of the actors. On the one hand, Jack Black steals the show with his interpretation of Bowser by turning this villain into a charismatic character. On the other hand, both Chris Pratt and Charlie Day were the center of negative criticism for not knowing how to convey the true essence of the Italian brothers, despite making a good effort.

In short, "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is a love letter to the fans. Behind all that theme park turned into a visual feast, there is a message focused on brotherhood and teamwork. Mario and Luigi bring out values that are well received by the adult and child audience, a reason that has undoubtedly led them to success in 2023.

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