I Love Jack Black: “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” Is Way Better Than It Needs to Be


The Super Mario Bros Movie poster, courtesy of Universal Pictures

In just under 2 weeks since its theatrical release, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has been slaying the box office big time. Produced by Illumination Studios, Nintendo, and Universal Pictures, the film has made $347 million domestically and over $700 million globally. This makes it the highest grossing video game adaptation ever released.
This strong performance comes as a big surprise to most because initial reviews from critics did not set very high expectations for the film. It seems that the audience has a different perspective, and the numbers show it.
Before its release the film was rated very poorly by professional critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and it currently sits at 58%. This is contrary to Rotten Tomatoes’ Audience Score, which is currently at 96%.
Fans love this stupid movie so much, and it’s clear as to why. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” expands on the Mario universe’s already canon lore, while remaining faithful to the franchise many know and love.
We get to meet the plumbing brother’s parents, and it’s established that the Mario brothers originally hail from Brooklyn. The film also personifies – or koopa-ifies – the blue shell from Mario Kart.
All of this also exists within the same universe as the Mushroom Kingdom, and is connected by a green pipe in New York City’s sewer system, obviously.
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” stays faithful in its representation of Nintendo’s classic characters and environments. Illumination skillfully modernized the Mushroom Kingdom and its inhabitants in a way that doesn’t look tacky, and each character looks like they popped straight out of a game.
The score for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is also stellar. All of the background music for the film are orchestral arrangements of the original game themes by Koji Kondo that fans have come to cherish. It was truly a magical experience to hear these songs reimagined in a new way.
Alongside the fantastic score, the licensed tracks that were chosen go absolutely way too hard for an animated children’s movie. These tracks include, but are not limited to, a-ha’s “Take On Me”, AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”, and Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For a Hero”. This might seem like a strange arrangement, but they all somehow fit seamlessly into the film.
The best part of the movie; Bisexual-Lightning Bowser Power Ballad. Jack Black was the perfect casting choice for Bowser, without question. It’s hard to explain just how giddy it feels to be in a theater full of people laughing as Bowser soulfully plays piano and sings under dramatic neon lights about his unrequited love for Princess Peach.
And, the internet agrees: the music video for “Peaches” is sitting at over 11 million views on Illumination’s official YouTube channel, and a live-action recreation starring Jack Black himself wearing Bowser cosplay is sitting at over 15 million views. The song also currently has almost 15 million listens on Spotify, and debuted at #83 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Fans were nervous about the possibility of a video game adaptation that aims to tackle the beloved franchise. Video game movie adaptations are notoriously terrible, and the Mario franchise has already been victim to this once before.
A live-action adaptation titled “Super Mario Bros.” was released in the early 90s. This movie touted the tagline “This Ain’t No Game”, and Luigi had no mustache. Needless to say, it was awful.
This just isn’t the case this time around. It’s clear that a lot of passion and devotion went into making “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”. This film is extremely well-done, it’s beautifully animated, actually funny, and genuinely enjoyable for all ages.
It’s easy to forget that this movie is rated PG, until you’re violently reminded of this midway through the movie by a screaming toddler. Children’s entertainment nowadays is better quality than it used to be, and they don’t even have enough brain cells developed yet to know how good they have it.