The Super Mario Bros. Movie

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Universal;
Animated;
Box Office $572.97 million;
$34.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $49.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for action and mild violence.
Voices of Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, Anya Taylor-Joy, Keegan-Michael Key, Jack Black, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen, Sebastian Maniscalco, Kevin Michael Richardson, Khary Payton, Charles Martinet.

Most movies based on video games tend to be unsatisfying because the process of Hollywood writers digesting the essence of the game for mainstream audiences usually makes the final product unrecognizable to the games’ fans.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie bucks that trend by essentially just putting a video game on the big screen. The film takes iconic elements straight from several video games connected to the “Super Mario Bros.” franchise and condenses them into a single narrative. And in doing so, the film isn’t trying to be anything more than what it is — an adaptation of a series of video games about a pair of plumbers fighting a fire-breathing turtle king in a land of magic mushrooms.

It gets away with such a distillation because the animation lends itself to the bright flashy visual splendor of the games and doesn’t create an expectation of realism, which is the trap most game adaptations fall into. The 1993 live-action version of Super Mario Bros., for instance, was an unmitigated disaster because it reinterpreted the concept into an action sci-fi movie.

The animated version features brothers Mario and Luigi (voiced by Chris Pratt and Charlie Day) struggling to establish their own plumbing business when by happenstance they find themselves sucked through a pipe into a fantasy realm of strange creatures where the laws of physics no longer apply. When Luigi is captured by Bowser (Jack Black), Mario teams with Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen) to rescue him and prevent the king of the Koopas from dominating the magical realms.

Everything in the fantasy kingdoms works just like it does in the video games, with power-ups that give characters boosts in strength and speed that come from floating bricks with question marks on them. The film doesn’t dwell on why everything looks like it does from the video games because it’s easy enough to accept that the Mario Bros. have simply been sucked into Nintendo World.

From there, the film features a ton of references to various “Mario” properties over the years, from his 1981 debut in Donkey Kong to Mario Kart, more than enough to satisfy most fans of the games. For older fans, there’s a reference to the rap intro of the 1989 “Super Mario Bros. Super Show” starring Capt. Lou Albano, so what’s not to love? The score is even design to incorporate beloved musical themes from the “Super Mario” games, which only adds to the nostalgia factor.

And since the Mario Bros. have had a ubiquitous presence in pop culture for the past 40 years, being a hardcore fan of the games isn’t a requirement to enjoy what turns out to be an entertaining movie in general.

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The “Power Up Edition” Blu-ray includes a number of fun featurettes about the making of the film.

The 18-minute “Getting to Know the Cast” offers several vignettes profiling the voice actors and the roles they play. The 27-minute “Leveling Up: Making The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is a six-part look at the production, which was overseen by Nintendo to make sure it didn’t stray too far from its video game roots; included is a look at various Easter Eggs in the film, particularly to some of the non-“Mario” Nintendo games referenced.

The seven-minute “The Super Mario Bros. Movie Field Guide” features various cast members explaining elements from the game depicted in the film, while the three-minute “Leadership Lessons” has Anya Taylor-Joy describing five lessons that make Peach an effective princess for her people.

Rounding out the package is a sing-along music video of Jack Black singing Bowser’s song “Peaches.”

In the 4K combo pack, the full extras are included on both the 4K disc and the regular Blu-ray.

MPN Podcast: Max’s Massive Bet on Harry Potter TV Show; Host Jeff Rauseo From Films at Home

 

On this month’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley open with a recap of what they’ve had time to watch in the time since they last recorded. Charlie watched Netflix’s wildly successful miniseries “Beef” about two damaged people who become entangled in each others’ lives following a road rage altercation between them. In his opinion, Netflix and other streaming platforms should embrace the miniseries format more since their offering of letting anyone watch content at their own pace allows for more experimental ways to tell stories. Charles has been revisiting older movies and shows in his collection, including the ’90s era Batman films and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

Charles then gives his quick review of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and long story short, if you like Mario then this will be an enjoyable, if shallow, movie. Charlie hasn’t been the biggest supporter of the movie leading up to its release but has come around to it, even wanting to rewatch the original 1993 Super Mario Bros. The problem? It isn’t available to stream on any service. Regardless, in other box office news John Wick: Chapter 4 has since become the most lucrative release of the franchise, renewing interest for its past movies with John Wick taking the top spot on streaming for the past couple weeks and Chapters 2 and 3 also cracking the top 10.

Next, HBO Max has rebranded itself to Max, which leaves both hosts scratching their heads. It’s strange why it would appear to distance itself from the HBO brand, but it is ultimately not a very important change. At the very least. there’s not another streaming platform with a “+” at the end of it. More important from the Max service is its announcement of greenlighting a 10-year-long Harry Potter TV series to cover all seven of the original books with J.K. Rowling executive producing. Believe it or not it’s been over a decade since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 so it may be the optimal time to reboot the franchise. Charlie is slightly hopeful for it with the tone of modern TV shows becoming darker and more serious.

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Last up, Charlie interviewed Jeff Rauseo from the podcast and Youtube show “Films at Home.” As the name implies, it’s a show that focuses on home media and reviews of physical releases, so Charlie asked Jeff questions like what got him interested in collecting Blu-rays in the first place and what some of his favorite special features are. To listen to the audio of the full interview when it’s released in the next couple days, subscribe to the podcast feed.

Voice Cast, Release Date Disclosed for ‘Super Mario Bros.’ Animated Theatrical Movie

Animation studio Illumination (Minions) and Nintendo announced that their new movie based on the video game world of Super Mario Bros. will be released worldwide during the 2022 holiday season. Universal Pictures will release the title in North America on Dec. 21, 2022, with the release schedule for additional countries and regions to be announced at a future date. The film will be co-financed by Universal Pictures and Nintendo.

Voice actors include Chris Pratt (Mario), Anya Taylor-Joy (Princess Peach), Charlie Day (Luigi ), Jack Black (Bowser), Keegan-Michael Key (Toad), Seth Rogen (Donkey Kong), Fred Armisen (Cranky Kong), Kevin Michael Richardson (Kamek) and Sebastian Maniscalco (Spike).

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The screenplay will be written by Matthew Fogel, whose writing credits include The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and the upcoming Illumination film Minions: The Rise of Gru.

Shigeru Miyamoto, co-creator of Super Mario Bros., and fellow of Nintendo, said production on the movie has been “constructive and going very well,” with representatives from Illumination and Nintendo “learning a lot from each other.”

“We humbly ask that fans wait just a little longer for the premiere, and we hope they look forward to seeing the unique characters from Super Mario Bros. on the big screen,” Miyamoto said in a statement.

Super Mario Bros. is considered one of greatest-selling video game franchises since launching in 1985 as a successor to the Mario Bros. arcade game.

Nintendo’s ‘Super Mario’ Death Hoax Spurs Social Media Buzz

NEWS ANALYSIS — When Nintendo on March 31 pulled the 35th anniversary special-edition video game releases Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. from its various platforms, some fans of the franchise took to social media proclaiming the Japanese publisher’s vaunted animated plumber character had been killed off or passed away.

The special-edition release has reportedly sold more than 2.6 million copies in the U.S., according to industry data.

While Nintendo announced it would stop supplying product to all of its platforms, including physical, at the end of March when it released the special-edition game last September, social media follows its own rules.

Online memes began surfacing that Nintendo had killed off one of its best-selling characters, which made about as much sense as Coca-Cola ending original Coke (oh wait …) or The Walt Disney Co. terminating Mickey Mouse. But then Disney has in the past used the marketing ploy of discontinuing legacy packaged-media titles and returning them to the company’s IP vault for future re-release.

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But in a digital ecosystem, there is no shortage of content — ever — and Nintendo’s refusal to comment on the situation only amped speculation — especially the day before April Fools.