I’m a huge Nintendo fan. I’ve documented it countless times on SFR, and my Mario Day post should clue readers into my obsession. I saw THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE (SMB) in IMAX this past weekend, and just like the empty caloric popcorn, I enjoyed it while watching, but not much of it stuck with me post-viewing. Don’t get me wrong, I applauded when I saw the Nintendo company logo, heard various versions of Mario songs, and spotted a zillion easter eggs (it’s fitting this movie came out on “Easter” weekend). Yet, it didn’t quite reach the top of the flag pole for me.

SMB is a ton of fun. It’s a fast pace rump through the mushroom kingdom that’s visually spectacular but, from a story perspective, vacant. I never thought I would say the SONIC THE HEDGEHOG movie has a better story than SMB. One of my biggest pet peeves is when movies split up main characters that audiences love, forcing them to learn life lessons. SMB makes that mistake by immediately having Luigi separate from Mario for most of the film. This creates a lot of jumping between worlds as we await their inevitable reteam. Although the easter eggs in Luigi’s B-story are okay, they don’t compare to the time spent with Mario and Princess Peach after they figure out their GAME OF THRONES-like alliances. 

What really works are three things:

  1. Miyamoto’s energy – SMB is a pipe dream for gamers. Just like video games, it’s a power-up of contagious visual creativity. 
  2. Rainbow Road – This action scene is MAD MAX FURY ROAD, with Mario Karts. For all the hype, the sequence more than lives up to gamers’ expectations. 
  3. Lumalee – Somehow, a minor character from SUPER MARIO GALAXY steals the show by becoming the edgiest death-obsessed comedic role in a kid’s film.

If the main theme for Mario being a hero is that he “just doesn’t know when to quit,” I hope Illumination doesn’t quit making crowd-pleasing animated films like SMB. It may not be a blue turtle shell hit, but it’s somewhere between green and red, which is more than enough for a video game movie. 

SMB is available now in theatres. 

Aaron "Dobler" Goldstein

Aaron Goldstein is a Product Manager by day, ludicrous speed content consumer by night. He’s a LA Film School Alumni and TV Academy / Producers Guild of America member. Aaron is a proud parent and dad joke enthusiast.

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