The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a perfect example of a faithful depiction of Mario
The Super Mario Bros. Movie was a revelation for those who have no idea or know very little about what happens when the filmmakers have a clear mind and a purpose as to what they want the movie should be. Clearly, the filmmakers took the route of them listening no less than to the fans only, and not to pretentious know-it-all critics and all those other people who have not an iota of genuine knowledge of the history of Mario or have ever even played any of its video games.
Seriously, I find it highly unlikely that a single person who lives in the free world does not know who Mario is or has not even played a single game of it because he is legendary in the video game world and thus Mario’s popularity has naturally crossed over to real life.
And for the longest time, people have been wondering if there will be a movie that will bring that fun experienced while playing a Mario video game to the big screen. This movie has accomplished this feat with flying colors.
I was thoroughly entertained by The Super Mario Bros. Movie because it brought me back to a different time, decades before, when I was still in grade school and there was a movie called Antz. Why so? That was the very first digital animation I got to watch as a child. That was in the late 1990s, and the only time that dormant memory of mine came up, and it was while watching The Super Mario Bros. Movie. This os proof evident of the wholesomeness, groundbreaking factor, and newness that this movie has come to be.
A ton of praise for the smart voice casting choices of Chris Pratt, who voices Mario; Charlie Day, who voices Luigi; Anya-Taylor Joy, who voices Princess Peach; Keegan-Michael Key, who voices Toad; Seth Rogen, who voices Donkey Kong; and Jack Black, who voices Bowser. All of them led me to believe that if ever there was a big screen digital animation adaptation of Mario on the big screen that is how more or less they would sound.
Everything else–storyline, digital animation, sound design, screenplay–were all superb in terms of how they all came together to create the definitive Mario movie. They finally pulled it off. We can finally see the Mushroom Kingdom and its inhabitants and the other worlds that Mario and Luigi have been in countless times in the numerous video games that have been released over the decades on different platforms that made Mario a larger-than-life video game character that has become a part of popular culture.
One more important detail that some moviegoers might miss or forget about The Super Mario Bros. Movie is that this is an amalgamation of the various adventures of Mario from his video games that were released in Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Super NES, N64, Game Cube, and other video game platforms. Literally, this movie is decades worth of a lot of things, and a little bit of below-the-radar things you can find, collect, go up against, see, and discover in almost all of the games that have been released since the early 1980s.
I know so because I got to play most of those games starting when I was a kid until I was a young adult. I still remember playing Super Mario games first as a child, reading Nintendo Power magazines that featured Mario, and watching the television show.
So, it was thrilling for me to finally see characters, worlds, power-ups, items, villains, and stages in those games that were never properly shown in the first Super Mario Bros. movie, which was a live-action adaptation from the early 90s. This happened during the boom of popular video games being turned into movies such as Double Dragon, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.
This reminds me, that in terms of the enjoyability of the live-action movie of Mario, and this one, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, they are as starkly different as night and day. As soon as The Super Mario Bros. Movie ended, I knew right there and then, that these said two movies are comprehensively incomparable. The first Mario movie went off the rails so much in wanting to be entirely different from the video game that it is categorically almost like a non-canonical property of the world of Mario and exists seemingly isolated in its own world. Gratefully, this second one, The Super Mario Bros. Movie that happens in the world of Mario, is finally about him because this is a movie named after him after all, and not some alternative or heavily modified version of the Mario.
On a larger scale, it is not only about respecting the legacy, legend, and lore of Mario to video gamers and non-video gamers; it is all about trying to put out a movie that is befitting to even be titled a Mario movie is what I believe happened here. Filmmakers can never insult the intelligence of longtime fans because they will always know more than them. By epiphany perhaps, the filmmakers of The Super Mario Bros. Movie had to acknowledge this fact. Likewise, it is only right and proper that they respect the creator of Mario who is Shigeru Miyamoto, and remain faithful to the creator’s vision, after all is said and done.
It adds credence that when adapting a video game to the big screen, the digital animation route is still the way to go. There is something intangible, unmistakable, and special that a live adaptation cannot capture and contain. Perhaps, it is the “spirit” of the video game that connects or reconnects all of us in the movie theater to our memories of what it felt like to play the video game for the very first time and, now, see the best possible version of it on the big screen.
Sometimes the movie experience cannot be fully put into words because it is something that you experience or feel as it happens, and when you try to recollect the memory or put it into words, it does not do it justice.
This is not only a movie experience; it is a case of movie magic. See! This happens when the filmmakers understand what the fans want to see and not what the know-it-all critics– who know very little about Mario and the games–think what we, the fans, should see.
For me, in the end, the fans who are the moviegoers in this case are the ones who matter the most. And, in return, that is what brings the ticket sales and box office success which by the way, has made The Super Mario Bros. Movie the Number 1 video game-turned-movie ever.
The year 2023 is turning out to be the best time to be a video game player and collector because, regardless of what or who you are a fan of, there is now a big chance that the next big screen adaptation in digital animation of any legendary video game character will be as entertaining as The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Why so? Because now the major studios have become aware that if they can capture the “spirit” of the video game character, then, it will surely capture the hearts and minds of longtime and new fans. And guess what? Those fans will ultimately be the ones to buy tickets to watch the movie and they will be the ones as well who will spread the word about it any way they can. Not the know-it-all critics!
As of this writing, The Super Mario Bros. Movie has grossed more than half a billion dollars worldwide.
What is the lesson to be learned here for those who have the power and influence to greenlit movies from video games to be made, especially something that is as beloved as Mario? Very simple. Hew closely and stay faithful to the video game character’s identity, history, and world. Remain faithful to the creator’s vision. And do only your best to bring all of that to the big screen.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a perfect example of a faithful depiction of Mario. By all means, watch this movie.
Mario was created by Shigeru Miyamoto.