The Super Mario Bros

Mario and Luigi are two Italian American plumber brothers. They have recently set up on their own leaving another company and have launched their business with a really cringe TV commercial, but one that mom really likes. When Brooklyn floods due to a breakdown, the two venture into the sewer system and… get sucked down a pipe to a magical kingdom. On the way they are separated and while Luigi ends up in a dark place dominated by warrior turtles and skeletons, Mario arrives instead in a magical kingdom populated by adorable little mushrooms, with a human princess with a mysterious past. However, the kingdom is in danger: the terrible Bowser wants at all costs to marry the princess and if she refuses he will put her kingdom on fire.
Colorful, hyperkinetic and stuffed with “easter eggs” from the first minute to the last, Super Mario Bros – The movie gives the public of fans exactly what they expect, with little imagination and no depth.
The film’s goal is clearly to entertain the millions of fans of the video game of the same name and in particular the family audience, so it is difficult to blame Illumination for the final result. On the other hand, between the caricature scenes of the Italian Americans and the adventures in the lysergic magical kingdom, the film does not take any risks: it even gives up on winking at the adult audience with jokes about hallucinogenic mushrooms that would have been very minimal.
All efforts seem to have been dedicated to a very dynamic cinematic rendering of the platform game mechanics, with jumping between suspended objects and with power bricks. One of these has a surprise effect that moves Super Mario Bros. The Movie into furry territory for adults, but also into something funny and lovable for kids. It’s one of the few original ideas in the film, which really shines with the villain. Bowser is in fact the only character with real depth, because even if he is the worst stalker, madly possessive and jealous, he is also genuinely in love, bringing a profoundly human contradiction to the screen. And to make it explicit there are scenes – including one on the end credits – in which she plays poignant and embarrassing ballads on the piano, dedicated to his unrequited love from her heart-shaped bangs.
The princess and Mario, on the other hand, are exactly as they are expected nowadays, with the hero who has to learn the rules of the new world, which the princess has already perfectly mastered: women are known to be more and more mature. Donkey Kong is something of a cheerful companion, while Luigi is initially a victim. The scene on the carts is inevitable, as is the joke that the princess would be in another castle.
Visually, the CGI animation is then perfect for transposing the video game to the cinema and a sequence is already created at the beginning in which Mario overcomes obstacles on the street, framed as in a side scrolling video game.

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