The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)
Every so often I get one of these, a ready-made monster franchise dipping it's toe into something unfamiliar. It's often like lighting a stick of dynamite and running for cover with a huge bag of cash, expecting it to blow a hole in people's expectations and make a right royal mess of it forever. Just ask Bob Hoskins.
The previous attempt to cash in on these plumbers' inexplicable popularity didn't go so well, largely due to audience reaction. Audiences that were already very fond of what the film was seemingly doing its best to ruin.
And now we have this. Something that appears to belong in the franchise that Nintendo spent so much time and effort trying to get me to spend my money on, albeit in vain. This would not look out of place as a collection of cut scenes in between game levels, such is the path that video games and animated movies are on is so similar.
It helps of course that this is an animated adventure, enabling the film to present these characters as their audience expects, allowing the actors to express themselves lyrically, leaving the artists at Illumination to work out the finer details of authenticity, and clearly it shows there are some lovers of the franchise working there.
Having been forced to choose Sega over Nintendo at an early age, the Super Mario Brothers never really meant much to me, and Sonic The Hedgehog has already had his own set of cinematic nightmares, so it's genuinely nice to see that the movie industry is finally beginning to understand what makes gamers tick. More of the same, but different, retaining a respect for the characters and stories they love.
And Illumination appeared to have done just that here, a worthy addition to the franchise that real fans (of which I am not one, as I have mentioned) can embrace and yet still caters for the Nintendo Mario virgins (of which I am).