(from left) Mario (Chris Pratt), Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), and Toad (Keegan-Michael Key) in Nintendo and Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie, directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic.

Anyone who has followed the progress of this movie may already have some preconceived notions of its quality. I went into this screening with some trepidations; however, after enjoying all that it has to offer, I sincerely feel that the filmmakers behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie have much love for the abundance of the source material. It is difficult to cram all of that love into one movie, but the minds behind this animated film have succeeded positively.

Chris Pratt voices Mario, an ambitious but down-on-his-luck Brooklyn plumber who hopes to succeed with his humble business with his younger brother Luigi (Charlie Day). When a significant pipe burst in his beloved borough, he, his business partner, and his brother arrive on the scene, hoping to save the day. Things go differently than planned when they discover an underground pipe that launches them into an incredible magical world. In this universe, there exist several kingdoms of mushroom people, intelligent gorillas, and a villainous race of turtles led by King Bowser (Jack Black). Separated from Luigi, who gets taken prisoner by the Koopas (turtle people), Mario teams up with the mushroom Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), who aims to defeat the King of the Koopas before he destroys and conquers all of the other kingdoms.

Written by Matthew Fogel and directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, The Super Mario Bros. Movie exceeded my expectations, delivering fun and enjoyable entertainment that will please fans of the several video games. While the plot is mostly transparent, the mixture of comedy, action, and Easter eggs is guaranteed to satiate fans craving a cinematic adaptation of their beloved games. The animation is colorful and exciting, and the voice cast assembled for this movie delivers excellent performances.

While much has been said about Chris Pratt’s take on the Mario character, he does a fine job without ever going too over the top. His Mario is likable enough but never really outshines a couple of his co-stars, who steal their scenes. The first is Jack Black, whose hilarious performance as Bowser not only showcases Black’s talent for comedy but also benefits from his musical talent. Also rather enjoyable is Seth Rogen, whose voice performance as Donkey Kong adds to the entertainment.

As for anyone completely unfamiliar with video games, the movie works well enough to be enjoyable, but this movie is undoubtedly geared toward its most devoted fans. The filmmakers have included loads of Nintendo Easter Eggs. There are so many of these winks and nods that I know I missed a few during my screening. This element will add to the enjoyment during repeated viewings, and I sincerely hope that this movie will be successful enough to launch a new franchise of Mario Bros. sequels or other spin-offs. Either way, this film proves to be a great start and one that should make any naysayers of the trailers happy.

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