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5 Things We Loved About The Action-Packed "The Super Mario Bros. Movie"

The nostalgic, record-breaking "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is not only a must-watch, it also deserves a rewatch!

Note: This article may contain spoilers.

I grew up playing Super Mario Games. It's a significant part of my teenage life. So when I found out about The Super Mario Bros. Movie, I knew there was no way I was going to miss it. I was even more thrilled to learn that my toddler has come to love Super Mario Bros., too. And when I told him we were going to attend the movie's special screening, he was so excited and went on to enumerate the characters, telling me that he won't be afraid of Bowser (well, by the end of the movie, I think he's the character that stuck with him the most, because he can't stop singing "Peaches"一to be honest, I'm also having a case of LSS here).

Based on the world of Nintendo's Super Mario games, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is an action-packed comedy film with dramatic hints. It marks the first time iconic global entertainment brands Illumination and Nintendo joined forces. Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri p.g.a and Nintendo representative director and fellow Shigeru Miyamoto are said to have been in talks for more than six years to produce this masterpiece, and the collaboration has definitely been worth it. Co-financed by Universal Pictures and Nintendo and released worldwide by Universal Pictures, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is also directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (creators of Teen Titans Go!, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies) from a screenplay by Matthew Fogel (Minions: The Rise of Gru, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part). 


CEO Chris Meledanri said that they really focused on telling the stories of the characters in bringing this animated film to life. “We love to make films that have subversive qualities, and this tone fits beautifully with the story that we and Nintendo are telling with The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” he shared. “The way we’ve approached this film is to make it for fans. We were committed to honoring this incredible game and these beloved characters.”

The film starts with showing Mario and Luigi, who both come from an Italian family, struggling to make a living in Brooklyn. Mario (voiced by Chris Pratt) is established as a hardworking guy who is persistent despite his insecurity. Luigi (voiced by Charlie Day), on the other hand, is seen as an equally industrious guy, albeit lacking in confidence, who is ever-supportive of his brother Mario. The two plumbers, aside from not getting calls from customers, are faced with a citywide plumbing issue and in their attempt to get to the bottom of it, they discover an underground area that led them to the Warp Zone. Mario lands in the Mushroom Kingdom, but Luigi ends up in the Dark Lands ruled by Bowser (voiced by Jack Black). Mario meets Princess Peach (voiced by Anya Taylor-Joy), as he seeks help in rescuing his brother Luigi. With the common goal of saving Luigi, protecting the Mushroom Kingdom, and defeating Bowser, the two一along with the adorable and loyal Toad (voiced by Keegan Michael-Key)一venture to different kingdoms and uncharted territories, all while inspiring with their courage, perseverance, and teamwork. 

Mario and Luigi - The Super Movie Bros. Movie review
Mario and Luigi
Mario, Princess Peach, and Toad - The Super Mario Bros. Movie review
Mario, Princess Peach, and Toad

The Super Mario Bros. Movie, a tribute to such an iconic pop culture game, is as nostalgic as it is groundbreaking, and proof of that is how it smashed box-office expectations with a whopping $378 million in its opening week globally.

And now that it's finally released in the Philippines, we can clearly see why it's deserving of the milestones it has so far achieved. Here, we're listing down everything we loved about The Super Mario Bros. Movie:


The animation

The visuals are excellent, so much so it felt like we were transported into the Super Mario Bros. world or universe or galaxy, especially on IMAX. The colors are so crisp and vibrant. The details are defined, rich, and impressive they make for a visual feast. 

From Brooklyn to the Mushroom Kingdom and the Jungle Kingdom to the Dark Lands, each of these places was masterfully created. The complexity in animation was the perfect way to elevate the simplicity of the 90-minute movie's plot. 


The voice acting

The voice actors did an amazing job of bringing these iconic characters to life一perfect casting! With the help of their voice acting's multifacetedness一Chris Pratt (as Mario), Anya Taylor-Joy (as Princess Peach), Charlie Day (as Luigi), 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)一the personalities of the characters were able to shine seamlessly.

Oh, wait, did we forget someone? Nope, how could we? Jack Black (as Bowser) deserves a special shout-out for a phenomenal performance! Jack一who also voiced memorable characters like Lenny in Shark Tale and Po in Kung Fu Panda一helped make Bowser scary, funny, and endearing at the same time.  

Bowser voiced by Jack Black and Kamek voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson
Bowser voiced by Jack Black and Kamek voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson

The themes of family, friendship, loyalty, courage, and even love

From the title itself, it's easy to tell that viewers are in for a treat when it comes to the theme of family. Mario and Luigi's solid brotherhood is truly heartwarming一their love for each other is, after all, the movie's anchor. The bond between the two took the plot in other directions that contributed to making the film-watching journey much more compelling. It's great to meet the family of Mario and Luigi, too. 

For a kid who's appreciating The Super Mario Bros. Movie from a different lens (for instance, my son came to love Mario and Luigi from playing in arcades and seeing clips of them on YouTube), it must also be so refreshing to see the friendships Mario formed with Toad, Princess Peach, and Donkey Kong. As a parent, I always want my kid to remember moral stories with valuable lessons from the movies or series I make him watch, and I'm glad that there's a handful to be picked up from this movie; for instance, the movie touched on inspiring lessons on having confidence in oneself and never giving up (until you reach that flagpole, that is, and take on new challenges on the other end of the pipes).

The princess is no damsel in distress! Princess Peach's bravery to lead and fight is also inspiring; and with the movie hinting on this power female character's origin story, we definitely hope there's a prequel that trains the spotlight on her as well. Even the undying love of the hopeless romantic Bowser is charming! Just watch out for what I call the “nega-star.”


The music

Acclaimed composer Brian Tyler is the one to credit for the scoring in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. My favorite tracks, which were seamlessly woven into the scenes, were Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero" and A-ha's "Take on Me." Of course, the iconic main theme and "level complete" tunes cannot be missed, too.

But hands down one of the best elements in the film is Jack Black's "Peaches" which just entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 83. In an interview, Jack said of the sorrow-filled track, "When people talk about music 2023, only four names are going to matter: no. 1: Bowser, no. 2: Bowser, no. 3: Bowser, and no. 4: probably Megan Thee Stallion. 'Peaches' isn't just a moment from The Super Marios Movie, it's a landmark moment in music history. When I first sang those opening notes, 'Peach, you're so cool,' I could feel the energy shift in the room." 

The nostalgic appeal

Developed in the 1980s initially as an arcade game, Mario Bros. eventually evolved into the platform game Super Mario Bros. Do you remember playing it on your family computer? I vividly remember the days I'd spend playing it after school. I couldn't help but smile at seeing Mario and Luigi and the elements I so loved about the game (my favorite is when I'd get a Super Mushroom) on the big screen. I felt like I wanted to get my hands on a controller right there in the cinema and play the game. As for my son, he wants to go to the arcade and play MarioKart一still singing "Peaches," yes.

Overall, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a great family offering一the young ones and the young at heart, especially those who grew up playing this game, will have an amazing time throughout the film. It's not only a must-watch, it also deserves a rewatch (no kidding, my sister texted me, saying she wants to watch it too, so I won't mind watching it again for the Easter eggs I may have missed).