‘The Tremendous Mario Bros. Film’ Evaluations, Field Workplace Forecast
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day voice Mario and Luigi in Universal and Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” doesn’t look like a hit with the critics.
The Nintendo-based film, from Universal and Illumination, was praised for its stunning visuals but failed to charm reviewers. As of Wednesday afternoon, it received a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 122 reviews, a “rotten” score.
The feature is thinly plotted and, according to critics, relies heavily on sequences taken directly from the video games it’s based on and skips character development. They also bemoaned what they believed to be unfunny jokes and a voice cast that seemed to call them out. That is, except for Jack Black, who voices the villainous Bowser.
Audiences, on the other hand, have responded well to the film so far, with more than 100 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes resulting in an audience rating of 98%. And box office analysts don’t anticipate that poor critical reviews will discourage moviegoers, especially families, from venturing out to see The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
The film is expected to become the highest-grossing video game adaptation at the domestic box office, surpassing “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” which grossed $72 million on its debut last year.
Currently, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is forecast to gross more than $100 million over Friday, Saturday and Sunday — and more than $150 million for the entire five days beginning Wednesday, according to BoxOffice.com . Universal was more down, making $100-$110 million at the domestic box office through the 5-day holiday weekend.
Here’s what critics thought about “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”:
Nicholas Barbier, BBC
The film’s plot revolves around Mario and Luigi, brothers from Brooklyn, who want to start their own independent plumbing business, much to the chagrin of their disapproving father.
Audiences get a sneak peek of what it would have been like if Chris Pratt (Mario) and Charlie Day (Luigi) had performed in over-the-top Italian accents as part of an over-the-top TV commercial for their company. The film also uses this ad to explain why Mario and Luigi wear giant white gloves.
The film gets off the ground when “one night the brothers investigate a flood that is never explained and find a magic whistle that is also never explained,” wrote Nicholas Barber in his BBC review of the film. “The pipe will take them both to another planet or possibly another universe. That’s never explained either.”
The brothers get separated, and Mario ends up in the fairytale Mushroom Kingdom, where he meets Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Toad (Keegan-Michael Key), and Luigi falls into the lap of the monstrous Bowser, who is out to overtake the Mushroom Kingdom and Marrying Peach.
“The trouble begins when Mario is suddenly surrounded by floating rocks, giant gold coins, ‘power up’ cubes, and bubbling electronic sound effects that only make sense in the context of a video game,” Barber said. “At this point, it’s clear that the directors have given up on making a cartoon that everyone could enjoy and instead focused on amassing references for the benefit of the games’ loyal fans.”
Barber said screenwriter Matthew Fogel (“Minions: The Rise of Gru,” “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”) efficiently tied together the various video game references, “but the film has a startling lack of jokes, twists, and memorable lines , exciting stunts, touching emotional moments and anything else that could captivate any viewer who doesn’t allude to the point.”
Read the full BBC review.
Jack Black voices the villain Bowser in Universal and Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Radheyan Simonpillai, Globe and Mail
Long before critics sat down to watch Super Mario Bros., there was a big question about the film’s highest-paid voice actor — Chris Pratt.
Fans wondered early on if Pratt would try the “it’s-a-me” accent, and expressed mixed opinions when producers said he wouldn’t. Half of the internet seemed relieved and the other half suddenly worried about how the legendary Mario would sound on the big screen.
At the end of the day, Radheyan Simonpillai of the Globe and Mail writes that “the internet was right. Chris Pratt is completely wrong as the title character.
“The problem here isn’t that Pratt can’t emulate the helium-heavy ‘It’s-a-me’ and ‘Let’sa-go’ catchphrases that made Charles Martinet iconic in the video games,” explained Simonpillai. “Pratt takes on a very distinct character — a tiny-mustached plumber in overalls kicking around turtle shells is anything but average — and delivers another boring and draining default performance we’ve seen from several Guardians of the Galaxy and Lego movies.”
Simonpillai called Pratt’s voice acting “bland and draining,” noting that only Seth Rogan as Donkey Kong and Black as Bowser left an impression on audiences.
He also dubbed the storytelling “8-bit” — as many critics did in their jabs at the film — referring to the two-dimensional animation of the original Mario games.
“I wonder if the filmmakers were too shy to push the envelope with this copyrighted material lest they end up with something like the disastrous live-action movie ‘Super Mario Bros.’ from 1993 end,” he said.
Read the full Globe and Mail review.
AA Dowd, Chron
“The ‘Super Mario Bros. Movie’ is such a shiny product and so enjoyable to stare at at first that it takes a moment to realize it’s not a great movie at all,” wrote AA Dowd in his review of the film . “It’s more like glorified memorabilia throwing the shiniest animation money can buy to a complete lack of imagination.”
Dowd, like many other critics, remarked that the animated film was eye candy, “lovingly structured”.
“But the longest of the long leaps couldn’t bridge the gulf that separates the time and care the animators put into their work here and the effort of the writing they serve,” he said.
Story-wise, Dowd wondered why Princess Peach, no longer portrayed as a damsel in distress, would take the time to set up a tutorial-style montage where Mario can jump over iconic bricks, while the looming threat of Bowser looms over the Mushroom Kingdom.
“Maybe it’s silly to complain about the storytelling in a run-and-jump platformer adaptation,” he mused.
“But ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ has all the narrative inspiration of a shareholder presentation; it’s hard to shake the impression that it was written from a checklist, with more Easter eggs than plot points and more stupid needle drops… than jokes.”
He noted that scenes between Mario and other characters looked like they were written at the end of production and then hastily inserted into the film.
“All this flawless computer animation is like polishing … well, what Mario finds in pipes in his daily work,” he said.
Read Chron’s full review.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Rotten Tomatoes and is the distributor of The Super Mario Bros. Movie.