From Nintendo and Illumination comes a new animated film based on the world of Super Mario Bros.
Directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (collaborators on Teen Titans Go!, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies) from a screenplay by Matthew Fogel (The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, Minions: The Rise of Gru), the film stars Chris Pratt as Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Charlie Day as Luigi, Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike.
The film is produced by Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and by Shigeru Miyamoto for Nintendo. The film will be co-financed by Universal Pictures and Nintendo and released worldwide by Universal Pictures.
What We Thought:
I’m a big fan of the work of Illumination. I’m also a big fan of both Chris Pratt and Charlie Day and loved their collaboration in the nearly flawless The LEGO Movie. I grew up playing the Super Mario Bros. games on Nintendo, Super Nintendo, N64 and more. Needless to say I expected a fun time with The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Unfortunately for me, I did not enjoy the film.
If I was a kid I would have loved it. It’s bright, colorful, chaotic and non-stop. If you have a short attention span it’s perfect for you because it’s constantly changing locations and characters every few minutes. Kids will eat it up and if it’s a box office success (which I think it will be regardless of what I think of the movie), it’s because kids will be clapping along and enjoying all the characters and colors.
I have no issue with a movie being for kids. I grew up on them and kids deserve them. But over the past 25 years or so animated films have crossed over into being for both kids and adults at the same time. Pixar got the ball rolling and Illumination to me is the king of it. The Secret Life of Pets, Sing, the Minions movies, I dig all those. Yes they are for children overall, but there is enough adult references and humor in them to entertain me. That’s what The Super Mario Bros. Movie lacks, things for adults. Other than the Depression Star character, not one character seems geared towards adults. Again I am ok with that, but I guess I’m used to animated movies that cross boundaries nowadays.
I also really didn’t like Jack Black’s Bowser. Because it’s Black doing the voice, Bowser sings a song at a piano and it’s really cringe-y. Bowser doesn’t come across as scary, just pining over Princess Peach. Princess Peach of course is a tough chick ready to fight. She’s not the damsel in distress like in the original game. Mario and Luigi have to defeat Bowser and save the Princess in the original NES game. Here Peach leads her toad people, rides a motorcycle and wants help from the Kong army to take on Bowser. If Mario and Luigi weren’t sucked through a pipe in New York, Princess Peach still would have done the same things to defeat Bowser.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a quick watch which helps. It has a great soundtrack, but it’s the first film affiliated with Illumination I have no interest in watching again. Kids will be completely into it though. It has some Easter eggs and references to other Nintendo properties, but I expected so much more from it. It’s going to make a ton of money and I expect a sequel green lit after opening weekend. Make sure to stay through the credits because there are mid-credit and post credit scenes.