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Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

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The Mario Bros. are back on rainbow road

Video game to screen adaption offers playful, nostalgic watch but fails to meet A-list cast expectations
By Illumination YouTube Channel

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is an action-packed animated comedy featuring a childhood favorite video game. Lovable characters Mario and Luigi return to screens as never seen before, this time in a lively plot that involves a variety of characters from the Mario universe.

An escape from the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn, the two brothers unwillingly enter separate worlds, one friendly and one dangerous. Each encountering new personalities and experiences as the movie continues, their brotherly connection brings them together for an expected happy ending. 

From the very start, the brothers make entertaining but predictable decisions, leading to a less-than-nail-biting watch. Maybe as an homage to the replayable video game, the movie follows a straight path, giving us the opportunity to make predictions about what will happen next, and oftentimes, we’re right. The storyline continues at a healthy pace and includes a good variety of scenes and separate quests. 

During the first Mario and Princess Peach interaction, they conduct the oh-so-common training scene backed up by “Holding Out For a Hero.” The song comes out with a bang, leaving high expectations for the rest of the film’s soundtrack. For the most part, expectations are met, with appearances from AC/DC, a-ha, and even a revamped version of the classic Super Mario video game soundtrack. Despite popular opinion, the use of old ’80s hits throughout the movie adds a nostalgic touch, once again leaving us reminiscent of the good old days. 

The announcement of voice casting left audiences excited in anticipation of their favorite comedic actors. Chris Pratt as Mario, Jack Black as Bowser and Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach raised expectations leading up to the release date. It’s apparent, however, that they don’t have much experience in voice acting, as many have only appeared in live-action films. Black’s character is the exception. The voice behind Kung Fu Panda was produced the only character in this film with any sort of star quality, drawing the audience in with his electrifying personality. While the movie is not set in reality, both Mario and Luigi struggle to maintain consistent accents; each brother starts with a thick Italian accent, then they shift to American, yet as the movie comes to a close, the accents return. 

Black’s character [Bowser] was the only one with any sort of star quality, drawing the audience in with his electrifying personality.

The character of Princess Peach plays a vital role in the plot, being portrayed as a dynamic and powerful female role model. A far cry from the damsel in distress of her Nintendo days, this new and improved Peach is the lone ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom and is a continuous hero that demonstrates more bravery than most. Bowser’s obsession with her, however, leads to multiple serenades, attempted kidnappings and professions of love, which come off as slightly uncomfortable and comically disgusting. 

Despite the return of many familiar faces, one notable character was missing from the film: fan favorite Yoshi made no appearance. Instead, an unnerving Lumalee kept haunting our experience, providing overwhelming nihilistic narration that was unnecessary for the film.

While The Super Mario Bros. Movie wasn’t revolutionary, it’s definitely a fun watch. With the combination of nostalgia rush and heartwarming brotherly love, its positive qualities manage to outweigh the negatives.

This story was originally published on The Shield Online on May 14, 2023.