The Super Mario Bros. Movie drew audiences of all ages

The Super Mario Bros. Movie was released this month, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it


Universal Studios and Nintendo

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 60 percent of ticket sales were from people aged 18-34, attributing the film’s success to its wide range of viewers.

This Easter weekend, I enjoyed watching The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) in theaters. I was only tagging along with friends and wasn’t expecting much given my dislikes for other animated movies like Lightyear (2022), but I was surprised at the level of humor and the broad range of viewers that it appealed to.

The animated film was directed by Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic, and Pierre Leduc, who cumulatively have worked on Teen Titans GO! To the Movies (2018), The Batman (2004), Despicable Me (2010), and The Grinch (2018). Matthew Fogel, the writer, also worked on Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022), and The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019).

For those who have watched, it’s no surprise that the movie brought in $204.6 million in its box office weekend in the US, and $377 million around the world. It is now the highest grossing animated film globally, and has become the most successful video game adaptation.

The movie was released on April 5 and centers around two Italian brothers — Luigi (Charlie Day) and Mario (Chris Pratt) — struggling to find work as plumbers in New York City. Through a twist of fate, they wind up in another world, and Luigi accidentally goes to the “darklands”. Mario lands in the mushroom world and teams up with Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) to save Luigi and stop the evil Bowser (Jack Black) from taking over their world.

I loved the vivid graphics in the movie. In the beginning Mario and Luigi are living in modern society and the shift to video-game land clearly marks a difference in colors, shapes, and even sound effects. As they travel to different lands, each one has a different style while remaining true to the video game’s graphics and the overall style of the movie. My favorite graphic scene was when Mario, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong, and others drove on the rainbow road.

Even more impressive than the graphics were the sound effects. Each time Mario hit a question block I awaited the silvery “clink” of a power up. Whenever a character ate a mushroom I felt like I was watching the video game only on a screen much bigger than my pink Nintendo DS.

The humor of the movie appealed to both young and old audiences. The cheesy plumbing ad the brothers make was cute and showcased the classic line, “It’s-a-me, Mario!” My favorite character in terms of humor was definitely Bowser. I liked that they curated his backstory to show how he loved Peach and wanted to marry her. When his love ballad to Princess Peach came on, it drew laughter from the crowd. Toad was also a cute addition — his sense of bravery and commitment to his ruler gave the story some depth and brought sympathy from viewers.

With movies that have pre-existing fan bases, it’s extremely hard to do justice to both the characters and the storyline; it’s sometimes better to avoid a movie at all. The Super Mario Bros. Movie, however, did this excellently. I was glad to see all the original characters acted exactly how I expected them to. Video game elements like the map of all the worlds and the classic pipes were expertly interweaved in the film.

Overall I’d rate the movie a 9/10.

The graphics were great, the sound effects remained original to the classic video game, and the humor was laugh out loud for audiences of all ages. Maybe I’m a bit biased, given that I half expected the movie to be somewhat like Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), and the flops of other movies earlier this year primed me for another mediocre viewing, but I truly enjoyed the movie and would happily watch it again.