Column | ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ breaks box office records, entertains audience


Photo courtesy of IMDb

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was released on Wednesday.

By Maaike Niekerk, Staff Writer

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” hit theaters across the U.S. on Wednesday. With a star-studded cast, the animated film broke multiple box office records.

In the week the movie has been out, it has already set two huge box office records: the biggest worldwide opening weekend for an animated film and biggest domestic debut for a film based on a video game.

While the movie received some negative reviews from critics, Screen Rant wrote that audiences generally loved it, and enjoyed how true it stayed to the games and the well-received plotlines and characters.

Brooklyn plumbers Mario and Luigi, recently having stepped out to create their own plumbing company “The Super Mario Bros.,” are having a hard time finding clients when a massive manhole leak in the city leads to them investigating the problem.

The brothers are accidentally sucked down a green pipe, which transports them to the colorful world viewers know very well through assorted “Super Mario Bros.” games.

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While Mario is taken to the peaceful Mushroom Kingdom, Luigi is separated from him and captured in evil Bowser’s castle, where Mario and his new friends — multicolored Toads and one Princess Peach — head off to save Luigi.

A notable feature of the film is the fact that Princess Peach, the historical “damsel in distress” of the Super Mario Bros. universe, plays a much more important leadership role in the film. 

In an interview with Variety, Nintendo game director Shigeru Miyamoto said that “it was one of our first conversations, to make (Princess Peach) the strong, powerful princess she was always meant to be.”

While Peach has always been the character to be captured by Bowser in the past, this time around she leads her kingdom in the fight to help Mario find Luigi, who has taken her traditional place of the captive.

This much more progressive plotline is significantly different from every past Mario game involving a rescue, where saving Peach has always been the end goal.

Despite the Mario games and colorful animated movie being generally produced for a younger audience, certain features — such as this noticeable gender swap — may stick out to members of older generations as well.

Lumalee, a little blue star also captured by Bowser, made a notably dark joke, saying he wanted “the sweet release of death” and how he wants nothing more than to dive into the endless void.

The jokes may seem a little dark for younger viewers, but an article by Polygon describes the character as “a bad role model, but a great joke” for the film in general.

The article goes on to describe how the character of Lumalee shows that the “writers can get plenty weird with their jokes, and they’ll land just fine.”

Another example of this atypical humor shown in the movie is the piano ballad “Peaches” played by Bowser as he longs for the princess. 

The song took absolutely no time to go viral on social media app TikTok.

Jack Black, who voices Bowser, has filmed a music video for the song as well, which has over seven million views on YouTube.

Other than Black’s original, the film’s soundtrack consists of a combination of ’80s hits and new takes on music from traditional Super Mario Bros. games.

The music, combined with easily recognizable game features such as coins, power-ups and even some racing karts, created a truly authentic experience for Super Mario Bros. fans through film.

This has not been the first attempt to put the Super Mario Bros. franchise on the big screen. 

The 1993 “Super Mario Bros.” live-action movie earned generally bad reviews and has been placed on multiple lists of the worst movies made to date.

The new release is undoubtedly performing better. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is currently sitting at a 7.4/10 on IMDb, although it has only received 57% so far on Rotten Tomatoes, a number which is still rising. 


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