The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a long time coming and has successfully broken box office records with well over $1 billion in tickets sold. The story hits the nostalgic solar plexus in all the right parts that will make audiences of all ages clamor with joy. The 1080p HD image looks amazing while the Dolby Atmos audio track sounds exceptional. The extras are better than the average frog suit too. Highly Recommended!
While Sony and Microsoft continue to create super fun and action-packed video games year after year, it's Nintendo - the classic mainstream gaming console that still maintains its original properties to this day with amazing video games that never go out of style or become stagnant. Nintendo's focus has always been its video games and consoles, very rarely stepping outside that wheelhouse into other forms of entertainment. The company tried with a live-action movie of their flagship game Super Mario Bros in the '90s but was met with critical and box office failure. Nintendo stepped out of that limelight for thirty years as technology kept growing and getting better. Meanwhile, Nintendo gamers and fans have been clamoring and wishing for another take on their classic games for some time now, which is when Nintendo and the filmmakers of the surprisingly amazing Teen Titans Go to the Movies paired up and made an animated Mario film with big named voice actors. The result - over a billion dollars so far in box office tickets and millions of satisfied fans. Needless to say, Nintendo bided their time to get it right and it paid off.
Those Teen Titans filmmakers Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic surely knew the fine line to walk when making such an iconic property that could appeal to all ages and fans of the game. Screenwriter Matthew Fogel and the two directors have cooked up a recipe that pays tribute to all eras of the video game with sounds, levels, and inside jokes, along with telling a decent enough story to start this new franchise correctly. The live-action movie from the '90s was dark, brooding, and didn't implore the bright colors from the video games or any real magical elements that audiences and gamers came to love. Instead, the filmmakers back then went a realistic route, which for better or worse - didn't strike fans with a good time. But hey, Dennis Hopper got a cool hair cut and John Leguizamo can tell funny stories about how he and Bob Hoskins were drinking between takes.
But now since thirty years have passed and technology has come so far, and almost every computer-generated animated movie makes bank, Nintendo decided to dip their toe into the pool one more time to see if anything bit. Now, bright colors and everyone's favorite Nintendo characters show up for this action-adventure movie with The Super Mario Bros. Movie which follows two brothers Mario and Luigi (Chris Pratt and Charlie Day) struggling with their plumbing business in New York City. Great references to their Italian accents or lack thereof are joked about which would answer some of those die-hard fan's questions.
The brothers try and stop a leak from flooding the city and in doing so, are warped to another universe. Luigi is sent to the Dark Lands where he is imprisoned by King Bowser (Jack Black), and Mario is transported to the Mushroom Kingdom where he meets Princess Peach (Anya Taylor Joy) and Toad (Keegan Michael Key). Just like most Nintendo games, if Princess Peach is involved - someone wants to force her into marriage, which is the story the filmmakers are delivering to the audience here. Bowser is to marry Peach and if she refuses, Bowser will destroy the Mushroom Kingdom, which leads Mario to save his new friends and his brother, and team up with some Nintendo favorites along the way.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a ton of fun for various reasons. Its narrative and plot devices may be a little less than stellar and rote, but the action-packed sequences along with the colorful, stunning animation make this a winning movie. The amount of fan service and winks to the video game dating back to the '80s are ripe with laughs even if it feels a little much. However, the filmmakers wanted to pay homage and tribute to their favorite, childhood games and allow the audience to experience that as well in this modern age. It feels nostalgic in the right ways. Everyone shines in their voice work here with Jack Black going full ham with Bowser. It's an amazing performance that only Black could perfect, which he does. Pratt does serviceable work as well, but it feels stale or out of place more than anything, but it's clear that Nintendo and Universal agreed that a big named actor who's had success in voice work lead this pack. The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a wild ride, but well worth the time to invest in a future franchise which is guaranteed to happen due to its $1.3 billion and growing in box office receipts.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The Super Mario Bros. Movie warps its way to Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Code. The two discs are housed inside a hard, blue plastic case with an embossed cardboard sleeve. The artwork features all the main animated characters with both worlds underneath. There is a digital code from Universal as well.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie comes with a wonderful 1080p HD transfer on Blu-ray. The color palette here is a dream come true that is rich and vibrant with all colors on the spectrum. The New York sequences have more of a realistic-looking color palette with those grimy colors saturating the city cape, but once in the Mushroom Kingdom, every color is turned to eleven that pops perfectly right off the screen.
The reds and blues that mix with the greens and pinks, and even those nuanced browns in the primates look incredible. Black levels are inky with no sign of an animated crush. The 4K with Dolby Vision certainly upgrades these colors and is the ultimate way to watch this film, but this 1080p HD presentation is dynamite. The detail reveals great textures in the animation with facial features, hairs, and textures in the clothing. This is one demo-worthy Blu-ray that people will want to show off.
This release comes with an impressive Dolby Atmos track that opens up the soundscape with vigor and adventure. Those sound effects are robust with amazing directionality at every turn. Those iconic Mario sound effects have never sounded better than they do with this fully immersive Dolby Atmos presentation. Tons of sound effects transition smoothly and effortlessly through each speaker creating a sound field that sucks its audience in, no matter if it's in New York or the Mushroom Kingdom.
The kart races on Rainbow Road are amazing and the climactic sequences pack a punch. The low end of bass has a great rumble to it that never crosses into rocky territory. The height speakers bring down debris, fire, and other game sound effects perfectly. This is one excellent Dolby Atmos mix that everyone will get a kick out of, especially the music and nostalgic noises that pop up often. Lastly, the dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow.
There are 60 minutes worth of extras here, all of which are worth watching. A commentary track and maybe some more behind-the-scenes of the voice actors having fun with the characters could have been shown, but this hour's worth of material is better than average.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a wonderful and exquisite start to the Nintendo universe on film. There's a good story, some fan-favorite characters, and a ton of setup for what could be a big-budget franchise for Nintendo. It's a lot to get excited about. The 1080p HD transfer looks amazing and demo-worthy and the Dolby Atmos track is fantastic. The bonus features are all worth watching too. Highly Recommended!