I have never been a fan of Illuminations and their films. I feel like many of their films are quick out the door, mediocre animated films that are just made as fast as money grabs. The only exception, in my opinion, is the first Despicable Me movie. So, when I heard that they were doing Super Mario Bros Movie I was concerned. I say only concerned because I then learned that Nintendo was going to be heavily involved and it made me worry a little less. When the first trailer dropped, though, most of my fears melted away and, for the first time, I got excited about an Illuminations movie. I still had concerns but I was very excited. So much so that as I sat in the theater during the traditional 15 minutes of trailers, I found myself eager to see the movie and find out if it were what I feared or what I hoped the movie would be.
Then, after the credits were done, I realized that The Super Mario Bros. Movie didn’t meet my expectations. It exceeded them! Every part of the movie is great. This includes the story, characters, visuals, music, and just everything. I didn’t feel that this was a cash grab but a love letter to the Mario Bros series and Nintendo as a whole. The movie is littered with references both visual and auditory, but they never feel in your face, they are subtle and only there for the big Nintendo fans. The cast delivers a stellar performance that makes you care about the characters and at times laugh at how goofy they are. The heart of this movie is Mario Bros and their close family relationship. Even if they aren’t together for most of the movie, you feel that they genuinely care and love each other, which fuels the plot of the movie. Speaking of, while it has been said in some other reviews that the movie’s story is thin on plot, I disagree. While it is a simple story and not deep at all, I never thought that it was dumbed down for the kids in the audience. A good example of this is the setup at the beginning. It took its time and gave a great introduction to both Mario and Luigi and showed what their motivations were. Another critique I have seen is that once the main characters get to the Mushroom Kingdom, the story’s pace speeds up. While I agree, I feel that the plot never speeds up to the degree that I feel is rushed or jarring. The journey feels quick but, in my opinion, is satisfying and fun. Overall, I think the best thing I can say about The Super Mario Bros Movie is that this is the first movie in a long time that I want to see again both in theaters and once it gets released on physical media. Most movies I’ve seen recently have been fun movies, but once I see them I have no desire to see them again, so this definitely sets this movie apart.
While I haven’t been Illuminations' biggest fan, I feel that they knocked The Super Mario Bros Movie out of the park and I am very excited to see what they do with it next (hopes for a Luigi’s Mansion and Donkey Kong Country movie). Have you seen Super Mario Bros Movie yet? Leave your comments below.