‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Blu-ray review

Have you ever sat and watched someone play a video game for 90-minutes and felt your life force slowly drain to zero? Did you enjoy that experience? Oh you did?! Well, have I got the film for you. ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ goes to some lengths to replicate that experience as accurately as possible, rather than be an actual movie, with basic movie things like a script or a story.

Not that Universal or Nintendo will care about any of those things. From a bottom-line perspective, this is the most successful video game adaptation of all time, and not by a small amount. At the time of writing, it is nearly a cool $1 billion dollars ahead of the next film (2016s ‘Warcraft’) and is still sitting proudly atop the 2023 box office, with nothing coming close to it as yet.

The plot follows brothers Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day) who have just started a plumbing business in Brooklyn. Attempting to fix a major leak in the sewer, they come across a green pipe which sucks them into the world of the game and separates them. If you’ve ever played the game—and given it’s a global pop culture behemoth, you probably have—you will be familiar with everything that comes next. 

Whether it’s bouncing through the Mushroom Kingdom, using power-ups, battling Donkey Kong, or racing karts along Rainbow Road, it’s all in there. The only difference is that instead of Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) being the character that needs rescuing from Bowser (Jack Black), here it is Luigi instead. That one minor difference aside, you might as well have a controller in your hands.

Credit: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Co-directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic have crafted a visually impressive piece of work, full of nostalgic nods to the games, familiar sound effects and music cues. But if you want something more substantial than brightly coloured confection, look elsewhere. The script is paper thin, the jokes rely almost entirely on familiarity with the game, rather than being funny in their own right, and the vocal performances from the A-list cast are so bland they could literally be anyone.

The best thing you can say about ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ is that it’s fine. An utterly undemanding 90-minutes. But the whole thing just feels so soulless and hollow. Just an endless parade of references designed to make you point at the screen, whilst recognisable pop songs are played in an attempt to try and inject fun and excitement into a film sorely lacking in both.

The Blu-ray disc comes with a selection of featurettes, which includes interviews with the cast, and an in-depth look into the making of the film. There’s a short clip with the cast talking about the Power-Ups that appear throughout the film, a music video, and Anya Taylor-Joy doing a fun piece about Princess Peach’s lessons in leadership. After watching the film and sitting through the special features, I just wanted to turn on my Switch and play the game instead, which lets face it, is probably what they were going for all along.

Super Mario Bros
Credit: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Cast: Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jack Black Director: Aaron Horvath & Michael Jelenic Writer: Matthew Fogel Released By: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Certificate: PG Duration: 92 mins Release Date: 24th July 2023

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