Article by Daniel Aikins. Photo by Adrian Jaimes.
It’s no secret that gaming has become huge on campus. With the establishment of various Esports clubs and the recently opened Esports Lounge in Atwood, it’s clear that gaming has already had a huge impact on our school this year. With this impact in mind, it’s completely understandable why one film in particular has made a huge splash in theaters in the past few weeks: The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Being the latest in a string of very good video game adaptations, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a movie that was being scoffed at only a few years ago when the seemingly bizarre casting choices were first announced, only to come out a few weeks ago to nearly unanimous praise from audiences. Having seen the movie myself twice now, I can safely say that despite not being perfect in a few areas, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is an absolute blast for gamers of all ages as well as general audiences.
The story paints a simple origin for Mario (voiced by Chris Pratt) and Luigi (voiced by Charlie Day) as the two end up going through a green pipe in the real world and ending up in the Mushroom Kingdom, in which Luigi is kidnapped by Bowser (voiced by Jack Black) and Mario must team up with Princess Peach (voiced by Anya Taylor-Joy) and Toad (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) to save Luigi and by extension the Mushroom Kingdom.
As you can probably tell, the story and its execution are the weakest parts of the film. For some, it can seem way too simple, with much of it being an excuse to go through the many locales of the Mushroom Kingdom in a relatively short time. In addition to this, the way that it rushes through several character moments can seem a bit jarring as the film always feels the need to move past a lot of its potential for deep character moments. With that said, everything else around the story and its execution is near perfection.
For one, the voice acting is fantastic. Everyone involved puts on great performances fitting their characters and as a result, there is a great level of authenticity that comes through during the film. The most impressive voice to me was that of Chris Pratt’s take on Mario as he arguably faced the most scrutiny prior to the film due to many thinking he couldn’t pull off an Italian accent. Chris in turn went for a much more Brooklyn style accent that not only fits this version of Mario perfectly, but also makes this Mario be able to stand on his own compared to the games version. Jack Blacks Bowser was also a major highlight for me as not only did he prove to be a great adversary for Mario and his friends, but was also able to convey a softer side that has never really come to light for Bowser in the games before.
Another major highlight of this film was the animation, as Illumination Productions translated the Mushroom Kingdom to screen beautifully. With the way things are animated, not only is it incredibly bouncy and frenetic, but it also manages to convey every facet of the Mushroom Kingdom perfectly, from the look and style of power-ups to environmental effects like the lava of Bowser’s flying castle. In addition to this, the film boasts incredible action to go along with this bright and colorful animation to the point where there wasn’t a single moment where I was bored during the film.
Finally, the most impressive facet of this movie was the score as it is the first time I have ever seen a game series long history of beautiful music being so authentically translated to film. Games composer Koji Kondo worked with film composer Bryan Tyler to seamlessly integrate many of the game series iconic tunes into the score and because of that, this is the first time where a video game movie feels like the video game its attempting to emulate.
In short, this movie may not be perfect at times in terms of offering a unique story, but it succeeds in everything else that’s important and because of that, it’s a must watch for anyone who is a fan of gaming in general.
As always, don’t just take my word for it, here’s the short perspectives of two huge gaming fans on campus:
Esports manager Brian Welch said “The Mario movie was a fun experience for all ages, and I appreciated that they gave Bowser some emotional depth rather than just a 1-dimensional villain. Also, the Peaches song was the song of the century.”
Mario fan Aiden Spiess said “I am a pretty big fan of the Mario Bros. games, and now seeing a movie about it has really grown my love for the lore. I will say it did seem a little fast paced, but if you think of it as speed running levels it gets better. Overall, this is a piece of art.”
Catch The Super Mario Bros. Movie in theaters now!