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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Movie Review: ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ brings magic of game to screen

‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ first hit theaters on April 5. (Photo courtesy of IMDb)

Back in 1993, “Super Mario Bros.” starring John Leguizamo and the late, great Bob Hoskins was not only quickly coined the worst video game adaptation ever but also one of the worst movies ever, sitting at 29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and barely cracking even at the box office.

Now, the animation studio Illumination, creators of hits “Despicable Me” and “Sing,” has much more successfully adapted the popular video game with its release of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (“SMB”), directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic. 

Illumination has always had gorgeous and unique animation, but with “SMB,” the studio has genuinely taken that next step in animation quality.

First, the replication of New York City is so lifelike and beautiful to view on the big screen. While it still is clearly animation, the backgrounds of the Brooklyn Bridge and New York City streets are almost like the real thing, from the trash on the sidewalks to the sun glistening off the street signs.

The Mushroom Kingdom is also absolutely stunning. Every location within this hidden world allowed the filmmakers to get creative with their cinematography and camera movement.

Speaking of camera movement, the entire movie perfectly recreates and captures that magical feeling of playing as Mario, Luigi and all your favorite characters. The way the animators have Mario jump, duck and dodge obstacles truly feels like a video game. Furthermore, the Mario Kart sequence is incredible to watch, giving every fan of the classic game a nostalgia high for 20 minutes straight.

The voice acting in “SMB” is also perfect. Most of the voice-over actors and actresses are great in their respective roles.

Chris Pratt, after about 10 minutes of getting used to it, is actually pretty good as Mario. Charlie Day, Jack Black and Keegan-Michael Key are also impressive as Luigi, Bowser and Toad, respectively. The voice that took me out of the experience was Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong. Rogen’s voice is very recognizable, along with his laugh, so every time Donkey Kong laughed, I only heard and pictured Rogen.

The movie sits at a short runtime of one hour and 30 minutes. I felt as if the filmmakers could’ve added 20 to 30 more minutes to expand some plot lines more. Some scenes seemed to fly by very quickly.

Also, this should be expected with a movie like this, but the plot is very thin. It’s nothing groundbreaking in animation storytelling, and it doesn’t do anything that will break the internet.

In less than one week of being in theaters, “SMB” has already surpassed “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” as the highest-grossing movie at the domestic box office in 2023, and it is clear why. While “SMB” is your pretty basic animated kids movie, it still allows fans of all ages of the game to finally have a movie that hits all the right notes.

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About the Contributor
Sam Cohen
Sam Cohen, Movie Columnist
Sam Cohen (he/him/his) is a junior majoring in Film and Media Studies. He won the Special Grand Jury Prize for his Comedy short film “The Gum Run” at the 2019 Montclair Film Festival Emerging Filmmakers Competition. Sam writes weekly reviews of recent TV Shows and Movies while occasionally reviewing older, forgotten classics. When not reviewing, discussing, or watching films, Sam is also a part of many extracurriculars on campus, including being a co-captain of the Ultimate Frisbee team, a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity, and an officer of the Film Society.

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