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Film REVIEW: The Super Mario Bros. Movie - ★★★★★

Updated: May 31, 2023

Brought to you by the bright minds behind Minions and Teen Titans, the new Super Mario Bros film is the console crossover that Nintendo’s MVP deserves. From Chris Pratt’s gamer past to Jack Black (Ice Age, Kung Fu Panda)'s rebooting of Bowser as a heavy metal rock star, here’s everything you need to know about the new Mario movie.

Director: Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic.

Writer: Matthew Fogel

based on Mario by Nintendo

Stars: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen.

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Themes: Based on Video Game, Plumber, Princess

The story of The Super Mario Bros. on their journey through the Mushroom Kingdom.

The film received mixed reviews from critics, but a more positive response from audiences.

In Cinemas Now


Sophie (Age 10) - ★★★★★

"This was such a funny film! Perfect for all the family, it was packed full of adventure and laughs! My favourite part was when they made their own Mariokarts and Toad made a really funny one! Chris Pratt was an amazing Mario and Jack Black was very funny as the baddy! Great soundtrack too!"

Nina (Age 10) - ★★★★★

"This movie was one of the best movies I have seen. Of course nothing could beat Matilda the musical but I reckon super Mario bros was second to Matilda the musical. This movie is about Mario and his brother Luigi who have made an advert because they have now decided to save Brooklyn by plumbing. But one day they get transported through a pipe and Luigi ends up in Bowsers world, in which he gets attacked, and Mario ends up in Toadstool world, in which he meets Toad the explorer. Toad gets him to Princess Peach who teaches Mario to survive and fight using power ups. Then they all go to the Donkey Kong kingdom and get the monkeys to help fight Bowser. But they lose the army. Then Bowser reveals he has a secret desire to marry Peach and Peach agrees. She only agrees because Bowser promises not to hurt the Toads. Then some fighting happens at the wedding and everything goes a bit bonkers. All in all this is a great and adventure filled movie which I would recommend to people who like Mario themed stuff. This is a five star review movie and I love it."

Maisie (Age 7) - ★★★★★

Erin (Age 13) - ★★★★★

"This incredible movie has it all with nostalgic moments rushing back in time paired with the great witty moments. Not to mention the incredible sonhs with the scenes."

Have you seen it yet?


New Mario movie buzz - Why is everyone talking about The Super Mario Bros. Movie?

Yes, it’s-a finally here: the Mario movie is out in cinemas now, and Universal’s take on Nintendo’s 37-year-old video game franchise definitely doesn’t hit a banana skin. In fact, the early word is that our favourite double-denim Italian plumber might be set to dethrone Sonic as king of the console crossover.


Super Mario Bros film plot - What happens in Mario 2023?

The Mario 2023 plot is tightly under wraps – there are even rumours it’ll be a musical – but we’ve got a few threads to work with. While the video games have traditionally riffed on Mario’s quest to save Princess Peach from the evil dragon Bowser’s castle, the ballsy bombshell is tooled up in the trailer and she doesn’t seem to need rescuing.

Instead, it looks likely the Mario movie’s flashpoint will be the invasion of a penguin kingdom by Bowser’s Koopa army. Meanwhile, it’s hinted we’ll also get Mario’s origin story – the trailer shows him meeting Toad for the first time – set against the familiar fungi, castles and dimension-hopping pipes of the Mushroom Kingdom.

One thing that’s guaranteed in Mario 2023 is zingers. Don’t forget, co-directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Ben 10) were the bright minds behind DC’s Teen Titans Go! To The Movies – hailed by many critics as the wittiest and most ironical superhero saga on the books – while screenwriter Matthew Fogel (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part) was last seen hammering his typewriter for Minions: The Rise Of Gru.


Wasn't there already a live action Super Mario movie?

Erm... Yeah. But we don’t talk about that. Starring Bob Hoskins, 1993’s Super Mario Bros was given a critical kicking and regularly features in all-time-turkey countdowns three decades later. Mario deserved better and for hardcore fans, this witty, whipsmart new animation is the plumber’s true big-screen debut.


Mario movie cast - Who's in the voice cast of the new Mario film?

You can’t fault Chris Pratt’s motivation for voicing Mario. A lifetime ago, before MCU/Jurassic World franchise fame came knocking, the pre-teen Pratt would steal quarters from a local wishing well to feed the arcade machine at his neighbourhood laundromat. As the star reflected in an Instagram video: “Man, I spent hours of my life stomping Koopas!”

Famously, Pratt has ditched the fruity Italian accent we associate with ‘console Mario’ and given us something fresh for the movie. “I worked really closely with the directors, tried out a few things and landed on something I’m really proud of and can’t wait for people to see and hear,” Pratt said. “It’s an animated voiceover narrative. It’s not a live-action movie. I’m not gonna be wearing a plumber suit running all over. I’m providing a voice for an animated character, and it is updated and unlike anything you’ve heard in the Mario world before.”

Luigi is voiced by Charlie Day (Pacific Rim, Monsters University), while Peach is played by Anya Taylor-Joy (The Menu, Emma.) and Seth Rogen (Shrek the Third) takes on the barrel-tossing silverback Donkey Kong. The Lion King’s and Keegan-Michael Key (The Lego Movie) voices Toad – and listen out for long-serving video-game Mario voice actor Charles Martinet (Nine Months, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero) in an undisclosed role.


Mario film villain - Who voices the mighty Bowser in Mario 2023?

Voiced with a boom by Jumanji’s Jack Black, Bowser is the same spike-shelled psychopath who nudged us off the Rainbow Road on our N64. But intriguingly, at New York ComicCon, Black said his Bowser “has a musical side”. When you think about it, that makes sense, given the actor’s band Tenacious D and ties with Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl.

“Well, y’know, I did bring some of my heavy metal roots because – in a way – Bowser is kinda like a heavy metal rock star,” said Black. “Y’know, a big, strong and scary rock star. And I did a little bit of rocking. I’m thinking after the movie comes out I’m taking it to Broadway – there might be a one-man show.”


Super Mario Bros. movie trailer - What are the best bits of footage we've seen so far?

The new Mario trailer looks good enough to eat, and that’s no surprise. After all, this mouthwatering animation is the work of Illumination Studios Paris, who gave us the Despicable Me saga, among countless others. What you’re seeing in Mario 2023 is the ultimate collision of the world’s best voice talent and animation artists, says Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri. “It was important for us to work with actors who could inhabit a wide range of emotions, to connect with audiences on the big screen.”


Super Mario Bros film trivia - What's a fun fact about the new Mario movie?

How about the revelation that Seth Rogen is such a massive Nintendo nerd that he even christens his pets after the characters. “For my entire life, I’ve been a fan of the worlds created by Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto,” says the star, who voices Donkey Kong. “In fact, my dog is named Zelda. Ever since I was a kid, I remember looking at Mario Brothers and saying, ‘If they ever make a movie out of this, I’d better be in it…’


The Mario movie is out now in cinemas in the uK, and although they could have pulled the trigger back in Covid times, Illumination’s Chris Meledandri knew streaming could never match the cinema experience. “We were going to wait for the moment that audiences were back in the cinema to release this film,” he told Variety. “None of us realised it was going to be two years when we made that decision. But I have to say that none of us blinked.”

Smart move: Mario on the big screen is worth waiting for. So fire up your Mario Kart, grab a golden mushroom – or more likely a popcorn – and strap in for the year’s funniest video game tie-in. Follow that, Sonic.

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