Let's-a-go play the game: 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie' review

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
Let's-a-go play the game: 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie' review
"The Super Mario Bros. Movie"
Universal Pictures

MANILA, Philippines — The famous video game brothers Mario and Luigi get a second chance at the big screen in Nintendo and Illumination's "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."

Mario and Luigi are two Italian-American aspiring plumbers who are transported via a pipeline into another dimension where the evil Koopa king Bowser has threatened to destroy the Mushroom Kingdom unless Princess Peach accepts his hand in marriage.

Nearly three decades have past since the first attempt at a blockbuster "Super Mario Bros." movie, and while this animated take is a much better improvement, it definitely could have taken more risks and still be a film worthy of the Nintendo games' legacy.

For starters there is little to no creativity in the film's story structure, which pulls the most generic and well-known aspects of the game to come up with the most basic plotline possible.

Granted there is nothing wrong with simplicity, but the reason the "Super Mario Bros." games have remained popular is because their constant innovation to keep players engaged; with so much Easter eggs dipped in one would have hoped the movie could have tried for more excitement.

The casting of Chris Pratt as the voice of Mario has died down and really doesn't mean much since he does a voice performance just capable enough, as with Anya Taylor-Joy's Peach, Keegan-Michael Key's Toad, and Fred Armisen's Cranky Kong.

RELATED: Super Mario: Nintendo's decades of star power

Jack Black and Seth Rogen were inspired choices for the voices of Bowser and Donkey Kong, respectively, the latter clearly having fun with the crowd-favorite character while Black could have done even so much more on the villainous (and musical) front.

Finally Charlie Day has the voice chops perfect for Luigi, but the story doesn't do him any justice by keeping him away from Pratt's Mario.

At 92 minutes long, it seems like the perfect movie to keep children occupied and will earn the approval of longtime fans hoping it would remain faithful unlike its predecessor — at the expense of cinematic creativity.

Because of immense box office returns, "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is now touted as the best video game movie adaptation ever, but such returns don't do justice to how thematically better other films such as "Pokémon Detective Pikachu" or any of the two "Sonic the Hedghog" movies.

The fact that Nintendo was able to gamble again on giving on Mario and Luigi another go shows there is hope the brothers can reignite screens again, be it through a film franchise just waiting to kick off or on the game consoles which won everyone's hearts in the first place.

"The Super Mario Bros. Movie" premieres in Philippine cinemas beginning April 19, 2023.

RELATED: ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ smashes box-office records

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