“Super Mario Bros. Movie” is a Phenomenal New Take on an Old Classic


Credit: Illumination Studios

The famous plumbing brothers bump fists to kick off “The Super Mario Bros Movie.”

Ike Noth, Staff Writer

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” provides a new vision of 40+ year old characters but continues to bring their original charm and unique personality. Although the movie’s reviews were controversial to say the least; the box office numbers were eye-popping, raking in over $1 billion in the box office. I personally loved it so much that I saw it twice in theaters. The visuals from Illumination were very surprising. The movie graphically surpassed all my expectations. And while many were disappointed by the plot, claiming it felt too fast and too basic, I thought it was the perfect fit for the movie. 

Illumination is known for its unique, childish 3D style, and while this is certainly prominent in the Mario film, the movie has its own visual flairs. Before Mario and his brother Luigi enter the Mushroom Kingdom, it feels substantially more like an Illumination movie; colorful but still akin to the real world. But when the Mario world enters the film, it feels like the video game. The animators clearly took their time making sure the film was visually pleasing but still had its original Nintendo charm. This is reflected through all the different areas the fantastical group of characters go to, each place has a distinct look that makes you feel like it’s part of the game. The animation in the movie is overall stellar, making for a lively viewing experience.

As I mentioned before, the reviews did not reflect kindly on the Mario Movie, and many people thought the plot was too sporadic. However, many of the reviewers forget the movie was made to please several generations, which I think it did nicely. The pacing, while fast, kept me interested, and provided room for more references to the Mario video games. The movie starts with a scene of Bowser, to showcase the threat, and a few scenes of Mario and Luigi to introduce the protagonists. does introduce important characters in an appropriate way that shows how the rest of the movie will play out: funny, but uniquely Nintendo. Visually speaking, it is interesting to see Brooklyn, where Mario and Luigi start, in comparison to the video game world that the movie’s first scene begins in. The scenes show two separate, but similar, CGI looks that display the different ways the movie will look throughout the film.

As the movie continues Mario and Luigi end up in the fantastical world many have seen in the video games. The Mushroom Kingdom, and The Jungle Kingdom take up the bulk of the middle. As the movie is only an hour and thirty minutes it was important to bring key elements, like new settings, quickly. The middle of the movie was enjoyable with different scenery keeping the whole story fresh and generally enjoyable jokes throughout. Visually speaking, the Jungle Kingdom feels very Mario-esque; the whole kingdom is a creative representation of the Donkey Kong games. Illumination continuously managed to create an awe inspiring, colorful landscape wherever the movie went, the trees, grass and buildings all felt special and specific to the landscape being shown.

 The movie ends with an exciting rescue and a grandiose final fight scene, and of course the animation is phenomenal. When Mario and Luigi beat Bowser and decide to live in the Mushroom Kingdom it feels like the story is truly done, but still leaves room for more movies to follow. The ending of the movie doesn’t take up a substantial amount of time, but it does a good job within the constraints of its time. The final fight scene was amazing, bringing a multitude of Mario video game aspects like cool attacks or phrases seen in the games. But I wished that other characters in the movie could’ve been more instrumental in the final scene. 

“The Super Mario Bros Movie” does a fantastic job as a video game adaptation. The movie manages to have both the style of a video game and a movie, maintaining the feeling of a very Nintendo experience at the same time. Illumination did a fantastic job with the animation and storytelling, making the movie feel unique and independent from other Illumination works. Overall, the movie does a good job entertaining its audience, and I can only hope for a sequel.