Was “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” anything special?


Bowser, a familiar character to fans of the video game francise, is determined to marry Princess Peach in the film. (Photo courtesy of Universal Studios per Fair Use Act)

By Jonathan Saucedo, Opinions Editor



Super Mario: a name everyone has heard at least once in their life. The classic game character first appeared in 1985 in a series that has been roaming the platform world ever since and made its first major appearance up onto the movie screen in early April.

The journey to the theater was hardly as challenging as Mario’s quest to save Princess Peach from that terrible tortoise, Bowser. 

On September 23, 2021, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was announced during the Nintendo Direct live stream, causing fans of the iconic video game to go wild all over the internet. Created by Universal Studios, Illumination, and Nintendo itself, the movie prompted high hopes, as the two big animation companies are known for their successful streak of animated movies collaborated with Nintendo, one of the biggest video game companies in the world

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was then released on April 5 of this year and quickly leveled up; the film is on track to become one of the most high-grossing movies ever, certainly in terms of the animated movie category. 

But the real question here is, is this movie anything special? Does it deserve the title of the best-animated movie of this year? 

Cover art stripped from the official website displays the Mushroom Kingdom, the land in which Mario lands after he is sucked into a Warp Pipe and separated from his brother. (Photo courtesy of Universal Studios)

The answer is…. YES! Anyone who grew up with Mario will love this movie. From the animation, beloved characters, amazing soundtrack, and in-your-face action, what is not to enjoy? After all, Mario is the superstar who has been shining through the gaming world for nearly 40 years, quite a while for a short, plumber who saves the day by squishing his enemies’ heads. 

One of the biggest reasons why this movie is so good is because of its roster of beloved characters, all familiar to those who have followed the series. Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Princess Peach, Toad, and the evil big turtle Bowser. All of these characters have memorable moments and designs in the film that will delight fans. Although Mario does not have much interaction with the characters in the movie, the ways in which they do connect give the audience a laugh and a feeling of nostalgia. For example, Luigi and Mario’s brotherhood is apparent: they always have each other’s back, through both the dark and happy times. Fans will appreciate those nice family moments since the two characters almost never come together in the original video game. 

Mario and Donkey Kong are historically seen as rivals, often on opposite sides in games like “Mario vs. Donkey Kong”, so to see them form a semi-relationship in the movie is a nice detail. That said, all the characters are enjoyable, even loveable, and shine on the big screen, especially if Universal and Illumination make another movie (many fans do want one).

The beautiful animation in this film is noteworthy. Fans will not be able to get enough. Illumination has a good record of making movies with outstanding attention to detail; the film company’s movie before “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was “Minions: Rise of Gru”, often considered one of the studio’s best works in terms of animation because of its effects. The audience, therefore, expected the Mario film to be as good or even better than the studio’s last. 

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The character design in the movie was perfect: the animation was crisp, stylized, and downright fun. Each of the characters had their own unique personality, which was evident through their body language. Luigi, for example, is a scaredy cat as fans may already know from his appearance in games. Once the shaking and trembling showing his fear towards Bowser’s troops begins, viewers are guaranteed a running scene.

But what really stands out are the film’s action scenes, which are amazing. There are numerous attacks and moments of tension, and the animation in those scenes catches the viewers’ eyes. On the big screen, those fights, effects, and booms really are brought to life, and the attention to detail will keep the audience entertained throughout the fast-paced movie.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” soundtrack cannot be beaten, either. Those who have played the Mario games obviously know how memorable the music is: the various areas/levels of the game are accompanied by different tunes that just will not leave players’ heads. They added those songs into the movie, but with the studio’s (Nintendo, Illumination) own instruments to make a sort of remix. Other classic songs have been put into the movie as well, such as “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler and “Take On Me” by A-Ha. The soundtrack, which must have cost a good deal of money to put together, works, and that is all that matters.

In the end, yes, this movie deserves the title of the best animated movie of this year. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is a must-watch for fans of the video game, and for those who appreciate quality animation. One can only hope to see more of Mario in the future.

So, stop waiting: head down to the local theater, and give it a watch: this film is guaranteed to be loveable and enjoyable! Watch it now in theaters, or at home starting May 5.