‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’

A fast but tedious rainbow road

Ricky Miller, Entertainment Editor

Chris Pratt provides the voice of Mario, an Italian plumber who does a lot more than unclog pipes (Photo/IMDB)

The whole “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” phenomenon edges on two of the three co-directors, Aaron Horvath and Michel Jelenic, who were behind “Teen Titans Go! to the Movies” in 2018.  I think that’s why Universal Pictures gave them the green light for this new project.

The voices for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” include well-known performers Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, Jack Black and Anya Taylor-Joy.  They compliment a fun and enjoyable screen adaptation that despite all the success kind of falls flat.

This new version improves nicely on the 1993 live-action version of “Super Mario Bros.” starring John Leguizamo as Luigi Mario, the late Bob Hoskins as Mario Mario and the late Dennis Hopper as King Koopa.  That one just kind of came and went without much fanfare.  The 1990s were a time when filmmakers didn’t really know how to market video game movies like “Super Mario Bros.,” “Double Dragon” and “Street Fighter” with Jean-Claude Van Damme.

This rainbow-colored animated version is a vast improvement on those duds.  It helps that everyone brings their A-game. I know that Day, who plays Luigi, had a lot of fun.  Black, who can be over-the-top at times, is adequate and provides a decent service as Bowser, the villain.  In fact, he turns out to be more of a colleague to Luigi and Mario in this tale.

This cinematic romp is aimed at kids 10 and up.  It’s one of those rare occurrences like lightning in a bottle.  It hits theaters at a time when there’s not much competition for that age group of moviegoers.  The overwhelming success of nearing a billion bucks at the box office is a result of these PG-rated “Mario Bros.” lighting up the big screen at exactly the right time.

The lightning missed my bottle, though.  It wasn’t DOA, it was D-U-D, a flat-out dud.  I know I’m not in the target audience.  Of course, the movie studios don’t care much about what I think because I don’t fall in into their specific demographic.

This “Super Mario Bros.” romp is a fun family movie that’s full-throttle all the time.  It’s enjoyable visually because vibrant colors splash across the screen.  The story is lagging way behind the colorful palate, however.  I never lost interest because of all the kinetic energy and the screen breakneck pacing of the action.

It’s not a bad movie per se, but I am not part of the target audience.  I was unable to summon up my inner-Mario ability.

There is no doubt it’s a smash hit for the kids.  “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” just doesn’t rate accolades from me.   I disliked the movie, but I didn’t hate it.

Grade:  C-