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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Mario movie plays to fans’ hearts

Photo Credit Nintendo

By Violet Wang | Staff Writer

   “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is quite possibly the most self-indulgent movie I have ever seen. For those who have grown up with Mario and Nintendo, the film is absolutely outstanding. Unfortunately, for those who have not, it is absolutely mediocre.

   Released on April 5, the movie broke box office records, bcoming one of the highest-grossing movies this year and having the most successful worldwide opening weekend of any animated film in history. 

  In the movie, Mario and his brother Luigi are unexpectedly transported to another universe while attempting to fix pipes. Mario then teams up with Princess Peach in order to defeat Bowser, who has held Luigi hostage to take over Peach’s Mushroom Kingdom.

   I am happy to say that it was clear from the start that this was a labor of love. Every scene is filled to the brim with jokes and references. Some things are obvious, like Mario and his brother Luigi’s hilariously terrible yet passionate plumbing commercial. Some are barely noticeable, my favorite being the Nintendo’s GameCube startup theme being Luigi’s ringtone.

   “The Super Marios Bros. Movie”  stays fairly true to the games, with characters and scenery being crafted with similar animation and design. The voice actors are fitting as well, Jack Black as Bowser and Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach being particularly captivating voices.

   Although there was controversy over Chris Pratt being chosen to voice Mario, as many thought it would be more fitting to have Mario’s original voice actor, Charles Martinet, play the role, I found Pratt’s portrayal of Mario to be satisfying enough not to be an issue. 

   At almost every moment, I wanted to scream out that I recognized things. I heard themes from the games being remixed and I loved the portrayal of Bowser as more heartfelt and Princess Peach as more independent that has shown in modern Mario games.

   However, despite my glee, it was unfortunately clear that the movie is not for everyone, indicated by the fact that critics overwhelmingly found the movie poor while general audiences loved it.

   Even as someone who loves Mario, the plot was lackluster and the movie did not have the time to establish powerful scenes or any character development. Most characters are one-dimensional, playing generic roles such as “underdog protagonist,” “girlboss,” or “loser.” There is also an overt overreliance on brand recognition. If this movie was introducing a new universe rather than an established piece of media, the plot would be incoherent.

   For example, as Mario enters the Mushroom Kingdom, he meets Toad, who immediately and excitedly decides to assist him in everything he wishes to do, with no explanation for Toad’s own motivations or why he happened to find Mario at all. Instead, Toad’s instant support is one of many segues used as an excuse to showcase more Mario media.

   Luckily for a Mario lover like me, the more Mario media there was, the more I enjoyed it. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is a must-watch for any Nintendo fan, but will be confusing to those who have little experience with the series.

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