A review of The Mario Movie


Image from the scene featuring the viral song, “Peaches” Fair use

     Adults and children alike found themselves reeling with laughter during the Nintendo Direct news segment on Sept. 23, 2021. This Direct revealed some members of the cast of the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Movie. 

     While fans got a chuckle out of some choices such as Seth Rogan as Donkey Kong and Jack Black as Bowser, many reacted with disbelief to the fact that Chris Pratt had been cast as the mustachioed marvel himself, Mario.

     On April 5, 2023 The Super Mario Bros. Movie made its debut in theaters. Although initially looked upon with skepticism, this movie has received largely positive reviews and has brought in the most opening weekend earnings for a video game adaptation ever.

     Video game movie adaptations in the past have been no stranger to failure. This includes the first Mario Movie: Super Mario Bros which was a live action film that had little to do with the story and characters of the Mario games. The new Mario Movie really shines in its devotion to the games and to its fanbase.

     The movie contains many references to the Mario games including the design of Peach’s castle, the eel from Super Mario 64 and the inclusion of Mayor Paulin. There are also many obvious hints of the iconic music present throughout the entire movie.

     Not only does the movie pay homage to all of the games and their stories, but it also adds new layers on top to keep the narrative fresh. One example of how it accomplishes this is the fact that Princess Peach is not kidnapped as she usually is. Rather than playing the role of a macguffin, Peach trains Mario and helps him adapt to the world of the Mushroom Kingdom.

     This movie’s damsel in distress is instead Mario’s green-clad brother Luigi who falls captive to Bowser. This is not only a refreshing change, but also does a better job in explaining why Mario is so determined to stop Bowser.

     Of course, one cannot talk about this film without mentioning the stellar performance given by Jack Black in the role of Bowser. His brilliant comedic abilities completely steal the show despite the character having much fewer lines than many of the heroes. One standout moment for Black was in Bowser’s love ballad to Princess Peach, “Peaches.” Not a single individual in the theater refrained from laughter during this ridiculous scene and many have reportedly found themselves going back and listening to the song repeatedly. This song has gained a large amount of popularity on TikTok and has 3.3 million saves on Spotify.

    In the months leading up to the Mario Movie, many fans worried that Chris Pratt would not be able to correctly portray the koopa-stomping handyman. While Pratt does not do the stereotypical Italian accent that Mario is so well known for, he does feign a Brooklyn accent. While this may be confusing to some, diehard fans will recall that Mario is actually canonically from Brooklyn.

     All in all, I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who is interested. A movie like this does an effective job of evoking feelings of nostalgia in fans of the classic games. I also think it does a really good job of being both family friendly and entertaining. This is a major step up from the previous Mario Movie and bodes well for the future of video game movies.