A Rollicking CGI Adventure with Big Laughs


A diminutive Brooklyn plumber and his timid sibling face a monstrous conqueror while sporting sweet mustaches. Cue the classic video game music and raise your expectations for fantastic family fun. The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a rollicking CGI adventure that hilariously incorporates Nintendo’s most popular characters. Childhood favorites run, jump, kick, and go-kart race through colorful, eye-popping worlds. A simple plot and blazing pace will keep youngsters enthralled; while darker themes and unexpected mature humor hits a bullseye for adult audiences. The voice actors seem initially miscast, but grow on you as the film progresses.


Mario (Chris Pratt) and his younger-by-seconds brother Luigi (Charlie Day) eagerly watch their first business commercial. They’ve quit their jobs as wrecking crew workers to become plumbers. A career change that’s mercilessly mocked by their former boss (Sebastian Maniscalco) and unsupportive but equally mustachioed relatives. The brothers are used to being bullied and criticized. That doesn’t stop them from pursuing their dreams.

A Chance for Redemption

Universal Pictures

Their first service call ends in unmitigated disaster. A massive water main break downtown offers a chance for redemption. The brothers can help the city and get great publicity as heroes. Their underground trip in the sewers leads to a labyrinthine maze of strange pipes. Mario turns around to see Luigi sucked away into a mysterious void.

Mario chases after his brother, but they get separated. He lands in the Mushroom Kingdom as poor Luigi’s plopped down near a fiery and foreboding castle. Mario can’t believe his first encounter. Toad (Keegan-Michael Key) warns that Luigi is in serious trouble. Bowser (Jack Black), the flame-breathing king of the turtle-like Koopas, has stolen a powerful weapon. His massive army and devious sorcerer (Kevin Michael Richardson) are on their way. Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), their strong and beautiful leader, can help Mario save Luigi. She has a plan to unite forces with the mighty gorillas of the Jungle Kingdom.

Bowser’s Baddies

Universal Pictures

The Super Mario Bros. Movie covers a lot of ground in quick fashion. Princess Peach puts Mario through a first act training course to prepare him for the battle to come. He learns that question mark blocks have good and bad surprises. Certain mushrooms increase size and strength; while others have nasty effects. The fire flower is especially useful against Bowser’s baddies. Super Mario has the weapons to fight, but he already possesses the most important trait; the courage to stand up to bullies.

Related: Here’s Why Video Game Adaptations Should Be Animated More Often

The film looks amazing. Directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (Teen Titans Go! To the Movies) vary perspectives as the characters journey through vibrant but familiar landscapes. These aren’t side-scrolling escapades. Mario and Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen) chase each other on acrophobia-inducing elevated platforms. They whiz past gnarly Koopas in a spectacular, gravity-defying rainbow racetrack. The filmmakers successfully recreate the games’ best settings. I spent countless hours as a kid playing Nintendo and Super Nintendo. You can’t help but smile seeing treasured memories come to life.

Chris Pratt voicing Mario felt like an odd choice. It’s hard to quantify the character, though most people probably imagine Mario as sounding older. This is probably because Bob Hoskins (RIP) played Mario in the terrible live-action adaptation. The decision was made to portray Mario and Luigi as younger, though. Thankfully, the millennial Mario Brothers don’t have a cheesy Italian accent.

A Blockbuster Adaptation

Jack Black steals the show as Bowser. No spoilers here but the filmmakers smartly played to his talents. He’s ridiculously funny and adds tremendous energy to a breezy narrative. The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a blockbuster on screen and the box office. Stick around during and after the credits.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a production of Universal Pictures, Nintendo, and Illumination. It will have a theatrical release on April 5th from Universal Pictures.


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