After spending decades stomping Goombas, racing down (and falling off) Rainbow Road, and smashing his way through the Nintendo’s roster of characters throughout his many classic video games, Mario, alongside his brother Luigi, is once again fighting Bowser in one of the biggest video game films of all time — The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
The new movie is a faithful retelling of the classic Mario story, as the official synopsis clearly shows:
While working underground to fix a water main, Brooklyn plumbers Mario (Chris Pratt; ‘Jurassic World’ and ‘The LEGO Movie’ franchises) and brother Luigi (Charlie Day; ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’) are transported down a mysterious pipe and wander into a magical new world. But when the brothers are separated, Mario embarks on an epic quest to find Luigi.
With the assistance of a Mushroom Kingdom resident Toad (Keegan-Michael Key; ‘The Lion King’) and some training from the strong-willed ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy; ‘The Queen’s Gambit’), Mario taps into his own power.
The movie is a collaboration between Nintendo and Illumination, the animation studio behind Despicable Me, Minions, and Sing. To say we’re SUPER excited is an understatement! For literally decades, a faithful movie adaptation of the most famous video game franchise ever has felt like a fan’s green-pipe dream. Illumination is one of the biggest names in 3D animation in Hollywood, but The Super Mario Bros. Movie looks like a whole new level of perfection.
Watching Donkey Kong vs. cat Mario in a Smash Bros. style brawl? The jaw-droppingly gorgeous colours of karts racing down Rainbow Road? There are more Nintendo games jammed into the movie than you can throw a Koopa Shell at! This isn’t just a faithful take on one Mario game, but all of the core franchises: Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart, and Super Smash Bros (with a dash of Super Mario Galaxy sprinkled in too).
All of this is backed by an incredible cast. From what we’ve seen so far, Jack Black absolutely slays it as Bowser, feeling like a truly powerful threat to the Mushroom Kingdom. Black’s voice is almost unrecognisable as Bowser, but his talent burns through — along with a hint of his comedic side.
“I was just thinking, ‘I’m going to go with full rage and demonic powers,’” Black said regarding his approach to playing the iconic villain in an interview with Fandango. “I think of Bowser kind of like a flaming Guy Fieri — ready to throw down at any moment’s notice.”
Anya Taylor-Joy was board game royalty in The Queen’s Gambit, and now becomes video game royalty as Princess Peach Toadstool. Her voice fits so perfectly with Princess Peach’s fierce and feminine style, like she’s been ready to take on Bowser her entire life.
And Keegan-Michael Key’s version of Toad encapsulates the character perfectly. He has managed to squeeze his voice a few octaves up into the cute, charismatic and occasionally cowardly, protector of the Mushroom Kingdom we’ve grown to love.
Charlie Day brings the exact anxious little brother energy that Luigi has become known for over time. Day’s comedic talent is on par with that of his co-stars, but with more chaotic nervousness that would perfectly suit a Luigi’s Mansion movie. Which Day has already expressed interest in doing…
And of course, from superhero Starlord to super star plumber, Chris Pratt is the voice of Mario. Pratt was the biggest surprise out of the cast — it seems like nobody was betting on him being cast in the iconic role! But Mario is a character Pratt says is close to his childhood heart, from his days growing up playing the Mario arcade machine at his local laundromat, and many, many more hours on the NES. It’s no wonder that Pratt manages to absolutely nail Mario’s iconic “Wahoo!” in what we’ve seen so far.
If Illumination’s in-universe ad for ‘Super Mario Bros. Plumbing’ is anything to go by (which, spoiler alert, Jack Black let slip is the opening of the movie), not only have they nailed the style, but are leaning into the Mario brother’s funnier side in just the right way.
And though it hasn’t been officially confirmed, a lot of fans are preeeetty sure the voice of the customer in the commercial is non-other than Jeannie Elias, the voice of Princess Toadstool from The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! in the late ‘80s for a cheeky reference to Mario’s screen history.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie may just be the beginning of Nintendo film adaptations. Back in 2021, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa even told Fast Company, “Animation, in general, is something that we are looking into, and not just this franchise.” Maybe we could see Nintendo will greenlight a Wario and Waluigi movie next? Or a Zelda film??
Anyway, the important thing to remember is that the NCU (Nintendo Cinematic Universe) begins on Wednesday, 5 April when Australian audiences will see The Super Mario Bros. Movie race, smash and stomp its way into cinemas!