The Super Mario Bros Movie

Certificate: PG

Voices of: Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jack Black, Seth Rogen

Release date: 2023

3 out of 5


Movie adaptations of video games are always met with trepidation since so many are forgettable (Assassin’s Creed, Prince Of Persia) and very few (Tomb Raider, Sonic The Hedgehog) have actually been any good.

The Super Mario Bros Movie was one that fans were especially wary of, partly because the first adaptation of Nintendo’s platform game franchise was the legendarily awful Super Mario Bros live action movie, and also because it was announced that the two Italian American plumber brothers, Mario and Luigi, in this animated version were to be voiced by non-Italian stars Chris Pratt and Charlie Day.

Fans of the Super Mario Bros games will be relieved, then, to discover that this is not only much, much better than the 1993 movie, but also that Pratt and Day’s accents are addressed in a cute way that makes you forgive and forget their controversial casting.

The movie – which is very much aimed at Mario fans and younger kids – has Brooklyn plumbers Mario and Luigi heading down into New York’s sewers when a flood threatens their borough. They discover a glowing green pipe and get sucked into it, with the pair transported to a magical world. Trouble is, Mario finds himself in the colourful, friendly Mushroom Kingdom and Luigi lands somewhere far darker.

The quest is on for Mario to find and rescue his brother, and he gets the help of adorable Toad – one of the residents of the Mushroom Kingdom – and the land’s ruler, Princess Peach (Taylor-Joy). Her kingdom is threatened by Bowser (Black), who is holding Luigi captive, so the good guys head off for a confrontation by way of Jungle Kingdom (home to Rogen’s Donkey Kong and numerous other Kongs).

That’s it for plot – this doesn’t pretend to be Citizen Kane, people – as the animators pack the action and adventure with lots of references to the games, from visual reminders (Bowser’s wedding costume is a direct nod to his outfit in Super Mario Odyssey) to musical ones (the music you hear when Mario gets a raccoon power-up is from the Super Mario Bros 3 game where it was first introduced), as well as numerous characters than fans of the games will recognise from Luma to the ice-throwing penguins.

The voice cast is fun (there’s a nod to the Italian accents early on that also features an appearance from Charles Martinet, who voices Mario and Luigi in the games) even if many of the actors are effectively being themselves – Black even gets to go full Tenacious D on a couple of musical numbers that are just brilliant – and everything moves so brightly and quickly it seems mean to complain that there’s not much story to stick in your mind after the end credits roll.

Speaking of end credits, there are two clips to stay for – one scene early on and an end of credits scene that hints who may pop up if we get a Super Mario Bros Movie 2.

Is The Super Mario Bros Movie suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

Luigi lands in a dark land filled with skeleton-like creatures, which may scare little ones.

Small children (under 7s) may also find Bowser frightening, even though he is quite funny, and they may also be scared by his ‘island’ (a rock in the shape of his face).

Luigi and other characters are captured and held in hanging cages. Late on in the movie, these cages are lowered towards a river of lava, which may frighten young viewers but everyone is saved.


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