I am professionally reviewing the Super Mario movie

Apart from studying the iconic Hoskins/Hopper original and looking up everything Miyamoto’s ever said about movies, how best to prepare myself?

I am curious about this thing’s weird ownership situation; despite being distributed through Universal, Nintendo’s name is all over the marketing and they monopolized the whole promotional cycle with Directs (which are probably at this point more effective audience hype generators than 99% of Hollywood productions can hope for). They’re explicitly touting how much creative control they had over this which I don’t think I’ve ever seen a non-movie company do with a movie release. Very curious to know how they are splitting costs/profits with Universal and if it’s representative of other cross-media adaptations (e.g. films based on Hasbro properties).

@“2501”#p109720 emotionally, background research, or both?

You might want to look up the other work of Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel and put it in conversation with the Mario movie.

EDIT: oh wait you probably mean the new mario movie. I forgot that existed for a second.


@“Mnemogenic”#p109725 EDIT: oh wait you probably mean the new mario movie. I forgot that existed for a second.

might as well do it anyway!

Watch some Teen Titans Go! and recent Illumination work. I doubt Mario will buck any of the trends in narrative or visual humor established in American animation over the past decade+ but it might be interesting to see whether Nintendo's heavy involvement will, in any noticeable way, make this feel texturally distinguishable from something like Sing or that Grinch movie. Also curious what the guys known mostly for TTG will bring to the writing

Prep for this would be tied to the place it‘s being published and the people that are going to read it. If it’s an IC adjacent audience, I'd watch the old TV show, replay Mario Tennis for the GBC, and read Starship Troopers to prepare for the militarism undertones that I have a sneaking suspicion will be in this movie.

If it's for something like, say, buzzfeed or Vanity Fair, find a family member or friend that will let you see it with their four year old and just write whether they liked it or not.

Describe to us Mario‘s journey through the pipe and how symbolizes his ’rebirth' as a free man.


Also explain how Peach got her toe stuck in the bathtub faucet.


Two questions that seem big to me and that I don't know the answers of are:

  • - Why now has it been decided we‘re ready for a new Mario movie? The original Mario movie didn’t need to answer this question, since the answer is obvious: at the time Mario was new and Mario was big. In the case of the new Mario movie, this question is a little more murky. Another way of phrasing it might be “What are Nintendo's ambitions in the year 2023?”
  • - What is the significance of Nintendo partnering with an American studio? I think the one thing Japan is known for abroad above anything else is animation, so while there is a sort of obviousness to why Nintendo would pick an American studio, there is some weirdness to that if you pursue the question far enough. If you are looking for unexpected parallels to draw, maybe Death Stranding might be something to consider as another recent instance of Japanese games and American movies colliding. (Edit: It turns out I know nothing. It's a French studio, (though Universal is obviously American.))
  • Beyond that, I think something along the lines of what @"captain"#p109729 suggested is probably a good approach. The one thing you definitely shouldn't do is waste your time trying to play every Mario game and studying up on all the lore of the Mario universe. Plenty of other people reviewing the movie will have already done that, so reviewing it from that angle probably wouldn't be that great. If you do decide to play some Mario games, @"KingTubb"#p109730 's suggestion of GBC Mario Tennis or some of the other attempts to tell a story in the Mario universe (e.g. Paper Mario, Mario RPG, or the Mario and Luigi games) would probably be better choices than the main series.

    I highly doubt the movie itself will be that interesting. So I think what you mentioned about the business aspects of how this thing came to be might be a more fruitful direction to approach from rather than analysis of plot/themes (though of course you need to actually watch the movie first before you can decide that).

    @“whatsarobot”#p109724 Anything; everything.

    @"captain"#p109729 Except this.

    You could watch Miyamoto’s Pikmin shorts. I’m not sure if he directed them but it seems like he was heavily involved so any interviews about them might be useful.

    I think what @"2501"#281 can bring to the table is that he actually thinks critically about video games, which will probably contrast with many peers in the movie critic circuit. So I would lean on that unique toolset.

    Unlike The Last of Us which was basically a long interactive movie already and easy to translate into a TV show, the mainline Super Mario experience is far removed from movies so it must be interesting^ to analyse how a world and registry of characters typically cast as a submissive playset for the players becomes proactive participants in a linear fantasy.

    I think the gold standard for such adaptations remains the meta-narrative of the Lego Movie and its critic of the nature and evolution of Lego fans. I don’t expect such layers of depth from this new movie; media sessions happened two weeks ago in France and a movie critic friend probably broke all sorts of NDAs just to tell me the movie was "charming" and "playing it safe".

    It would be pretty funny if the Super Mario Bros. movie won an oscar for animation the same year Tetris (which is apparently a genuinely thrilling and captivating movie!) gets many accolades in the more attention-grabbing award categories. Maybe someone here can shoot a short movie about Cannon Dancer or Puchi Carat and try to join the 2024 Oscars parade.

    You don‘t need preparation imo it’s the mario movie

    Mario more like mariowned

    @“KingTubb”#p109730 Let’s just say it’s somewhere between those two poles lol; I can probably assume a slightly more game-literate audience than Vanity Fair but definitely not to IC levels.

    @"saddleblasters"#p109740 These are good questions although I think the answers are already out there pretty clearly: Nintendo’s been talking pretty much continuously since Iwata’s death about wanting to “leverage their IP” with cross-media projects, and in fact the choice to partner with the Universal-owned Illumination Studios for the movie follows directly from the Universal Japan theme park project they’ve been touting for several years. I’m guessing even the laziest Illumination picture enjoys a higher worldwide box office gross than the most successful anime film, so the choice to go for a mega-budget overseas collaborator isn’t too surprising even before considering how they landed on Universal specifically.

    dw I may not have beaten too many of them but I have definitely _played_ the majority of Mario games across all genres and platforms for at least several hours each lol (including the GBC _Mario Tennis_ where there are suddenly ordinary humans in Mario world). A randomly selected first grader I spoke to last week already has pre-bought birthday party tickets to this film for his entire family and friend group; kids who don’t even own a game console saw the Sonic movie; I do not think anything the actual film could contain would keep it from making a billion dollars off its primary demographic at this point.

    The only thing of thematic interest I can see in the film’s promotional stuff so far is that Illumination have given Peach a girlboss glow-up and switched her role with Luigi as the damsel in distress; this could be because Anita Sarkeesian’s critique of _Super Mario Bros._ struck someone like an arrow to the heart, or it could be because girlboss characters are good for marketing, hard to say

    @“Dunkr”#p109744 Watched a few of these when they were on the 3DS video channel (RIP)

    Actually maybe I should frame the review as a rant about Nintendo closing their digital storefronts lol


    @“2501”#p109755 this could be because Anita Sarkeesian’s critique of Super Mario Bros. struck someone like an arrow to the heart, or it could be because girlboss characters are good for marketing, hard to say

    Or a secret third option: her character has been this way for literally decades!


    @“◉◉maru”#p109746 TLoU is kind of an interesting point of comparison. Mario has always been so much more an abstract set of aesthetics than a “narrative” that Nintendo already figured out ages ago they can slap him and his buddies onto any game genre they feel like, including narrative-driven games. That in itself though I think may be directly inspired by how Disney, Warner, etc. utilized their classic cartoon characters, constantly reimagining and inserting them into totally different scenarios, settings, narratives and formats with different writers, directors and animators - their basic character designs, personality and relationships always consistent and everything else up for grabs. The odd thing in this context is that Mario & co. have so often been defined by their general lack of dialogue - Charles Martinet’s whoops and catchphrases are practically treated as sound effects - so interpreting those very broad signifiers as assets of a coherent character seems like a dangerous task. With Miyamoto supervising I can’t possibly imagine anything as cheekily subversive as The Lego Movie though lol, fully expect this to be as safe and conservative as a children’s film can get. At least the animation looks pretty cool though.

    @“Funbil”#p109759 Does this video contain spoilers for the Bob Hoskins movie?? I haven’t seen it yet ya know

    I always got the sense in the games that Peach whacking people with a frying pan or whatever other “un-princessly” behavior was taken to be an ironic contrast to her “traditional” exterior appearance, a burst of actual personality breaking through the veneer, which is maybe how it’s also played in the new movie? idk. I do think that portrayal of a contradiction is superior to both one-dimensional damsel and tough-as-nails military leader, personally. (Contradictions make for interesting characters.)

    Making Mario’s mission to rescue his brother definitely gives the basic series “plot” a more personal slant than just your chaste archetypal princess-and-the-dragon narrative, so it’s probably a superior choice for a film!

    are you seeing it at a theater that serves italian food in seat or like has those little toaster oven pizzas? snack choice could help you melt into the experience