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The Super Mario Bros. Movie is endless nostalgia bait with no hook of its own

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In the world of video games, you can always count on Mario. Nintendo’s mascot is a happy-go-lucky plumber whose can-do attitude and jumping instincts have made him the embodiment of all kinds of family fun: flashy games of skill where you jump over monsters and try to reach a flag and rescue a princess. Obstacle to save, chaotic racing games where sabotage is more important than driving, and sports games that somehow appeal to people who love sports and who would rather die than turn on ESPN. Are. It’s no exaggeration to say that there is no such thing as a bad Mario game. There’s a perfect Mario game for just about every kind of person – giving the tiny plumber and his endless avatars the magical appeal that every modern movie franchise yearns for.

Roshni’s Animated Adventure The Super Mario Bros. Movie Attempts to bottle up that appeal, but ends up mostly referencing it. director teen Titans Go! Creators Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelnick, with a script Minions: The Rise of Gru And lego movie 2 co-author Matthew Fogel, The Super Mario Bros. Movie It seems to have been made more for screen shots than for viewing. Nearly every frame is filled with a dizzying number of Easter eggs and references to Mario games and other Nintendo franchises. Listing them all might be the most enjoyable way to watch the movie, because when it comes to regular movie routines like plot and characters, it all goes to hell. (If you get that reference, you’ll probably like this movie more than the average viewer.)

a portal fantasy (pipe dream?) aimed squarely at a younger audience, The Super Mario Bros. Movie Introducing Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day), two brothers from Brooklyn who dream of getting their independent plumbing business off the ground. Unfortunately, he has yet to get a single customer, making him the laughing stock of the neighborhood and his family’s disappointment. Desperate to prove himself, the self-proclaimed “Super Mario Bros.” try to fix the neighborhood water main break, but are sucked in through a strange green pipe that transports the two of them to the colorful world of a Mario video game.

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Trouble is, Mario and Luigi warp to very different places: Mario lands in the idyllic Mushroom Kingdom, populated by folk called mushroom-headed toads (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key in the main) and human Princess Peach (voiced by Anya Taylor. -) led by Anand). But Luigi falls straight into the clutches of Bowser (Jack Black), the king of the turtle-like Koopas, who is on a mission to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom. Hoping to save his brother, Mario takes a trip with Peach to ask Cranky Kong (Fred Armisen) for permission to bring Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen) and the Kong army into battle against the Koopas.

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Donkey Kong carries two large barrels on his shoulders in a stadium full of monkeys in The Super Mario Bros. movie

Image: Nintendo Illumination / Universal Pictures

It’s an engaging plot that’s mostly meant to take viewers on a scenic tour of Mario locations, with a few slapstick slapstick along the way. The lighting rendering of Nintendo’s world and characters, as envisioned by renowned game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, is overwhelmingly gorgeous and painstakingly faithful, giving every corner of the screen something interesting to behold. Everything else about the film is serviceable, with brief moments of frustration that will arguably make The Super Mario Bros. Movie Another memorable film.

The comedy is big on the shockwaves from the cute creatures, but it also has the shocking and bizarre inclusion of Luma, a cute star-shaped creature who yearns for oblivion, and who delivers big laughs about despair and death. which is guaranteed to sound even scarier when kids start repeating them. When Super Mario Bros, movie In the turns of the action – which is often – the scenes move between generic superhero-style fights and dazzlingly inventive set-pieces that mix ambitious CG animation with 2D video game homages.

Faith is the target here, perhaps haunted by the ghost of 1993 super mario bros., a famous live-action boodoggle that pleased neither Nintendo, nor its fans, nor moviegoers with its strange, dystopian take on the adventurous plumber’s journey through the Mushroom Kingdom. (Even if it’s slowly risen to cult-favorite status over the span of 30 years.) This new take on Mario is so faithful in its attempts to recreate iconography from four decades of video games that it’s well worth the effort to arrive. There is almost no energy left to do. Unchanged. The Super Mario Bros. Movie There’s an ode to the Nintendo faithful and their kids, and a few others.

Mario, Peach and Toad visit a foggy valley full of statues in the Super Mario Bros. movie

Image: Nintendo Illumination / Universal Pictures

have a lot of anxiety about vocal performance The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and it’s all for naught eventually. Most of them – especially Chris Pratt as Mario – are serviceable, and clearly don’t make enough of an impact to stick in the mind or inspire kids to imitate them, the way Charles Martinet did. The iconic performance from K Games has been around for years now. (Mario’s longtime voice actor has a few brief cameos that are easily seen and heard by those who find them.)

The major exception is Jack Black as Bowser. A spirited presence on and off screen, Black brings an unmatched energy The Super Mario Bros. Movie, resulting in a take on Mario’s nemesis, which reads as both faithful to the game and original to the film. It’s the only part of the film that legitimately feels like a collaboration between Illumination’s animators, Nintendo’s source material, and an actor’s performance, creating something that feels both familiar and new. (It’s also the source of one of the film’s best gags, a moment that’s hard to imagine anyone other than Black pulling.)

Bowser emerges from the dark to claim superstardom in the Super Mario Bros. movie

Image: Nintendo Illumination / Universal Pictures

The Super Mario Bros. Movie comes in a cinematic scenario that is clearly needed. Major Hollywood studios are looking for dependable IP that comes with a baked-in audience — one that might be thrilled at the sight of a Nintendo Production Card, for example. And there are theaters, as ScreenCrush’s Matt Singer noted in a recent post that set off a major online kerfuffle, often bereft of theatrical releases for kids. With his astonishing video game track record and impossible-to-hate overalls, who better to save the day than our trusty friend Mario?

But the thing about Mario is that he can do anything. he has a license Play In a world that demands that we take many things seriously. To Mario, the respect feels misplaced, and antithetical to the boundless feeling that comes when his familiar themes play through the speakers. There’s a bit of poetry to why Mario’s iconic movement is a jump: When you’re in the game and your feet leave the ground, for the briefest of moments it seems like anything can happen. It only requires a little imagination. The Super Mario Bros. Movie nobody is here.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Premieres in cinemas on 5 April.

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