Super Mario Bros.: Grand Mission to Rescue Princess Peach!
Mario is playing his Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System in the U.S. / Europe) one night when both Princess Peach and the enemies from Super Mario Bros. pop out of his T.V.! After they leave, Peach asks for Mario to join her at her castle, but their moment is interrupted by the appearance of King Koopa (Bowser), who kidnaps Peach despite Mario's best efforts. The two then head back into the T.V. Mario explains to Luigi what happened, but the tired brother doesn't believe him. With only her necklace left behind to prove that he what he saw wasn't a dream, Mario and his brother Luigi, following a mysterious dog, head out to rescue Princess Peach as well as save the Mushroom Kingdom. As he travels, Mario will need to collect the Mushroom of Strength, Flower of Courage, and Star of Invincibility to defeat Koopa.
When I was little, my first video game system growing up was an Atari 2600. But even back then, I was aware of Mario through Donkey Kong. When our family got a NES in 1989, I couldn't have been any happier with playing with the Super Mario Bros. games, having played them at my cousin's house many times when little. In fact, Super Mario Bros. 3 was the first video game I remember getting for a birthday present back in 1991. I later got a Sega Genesis a couple of years later, but I was still familiar with the Mario games released on the Super Nintendo, and later got the Nintendo 64 for Christmas six years later, and now have every major Mario game ever released in some form.
I first heard about the Super Mario Bros. animated movie years before I saw it. At times I wondered if I would ever see it at all. But a couple of years ago I finally got the chance to see it. And now, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original Super Mario Bros., I decided to re-watch (and review) this anime for you guys.
Where to start? Well, let's start with the characterizations of the familiar Mario characters. Mario is portrayed as a typical good guy who wants to save the girl - mainly because he is obsessed with her. Luigi (who wears blue and yellow for some reason in this film), meanwhile, is a gullible, money-hungry wuss, and couldn't care less about saving Peach the grand majority of the film. Needless to say, they don't have much personality in this film, and mainly just wander from one place to the next acting as their two-dimensional selves. (Though it is fairly amusing seeing Mario cower behind Peach upon his first encounter with Koopa, considering how the games usually portray the red-clad plumber.) Peach spends most of the movie whining in one of the most annoying voices I've heard in an anime in a while, and Koopa keeps trying unsuccessfully to get her to fall for him. (Also, for some reason, the mushroom retainers in this movie are all portrayed as cute females.)
Basically the majority of the movie is Mario, Luigi, and a weird-looking dog wandering from area to area avoiding Mario enemies while encountering familiar Mario sighs, such as beanstalks, mushrooms, fire flowers, coins, and stars. And each time they travel to an area, you see a montage of various clips involving our heroes and their dog over very 80's anime songs, as well as shame-less plugs for products revolved around the release of the movie. (Look for a Sanrio sign near the beginning of the film.) For a Mario fan like myself, it's a treat to see so many familiar characters from my childhood, especially when you compare to the 1993 live-action movie that barely looked anything like Mario.
Still, I'll have to admit the biggest flaw with Super Mario Bros.: Grand Mission to Rescue Princess Peach!: it's almost entirely based on nostalgia. How much you'll like the movie depends on how much you're familiar with the Mario games, specifically Super Mario Bros.. As far as storytelling goes, it just wanders from one place to another with little to hold it together. And although the use of Mario music and sound effects is nice fanservice, the little original music in the movie (which is mostly just a bunch of mediocre J-POP songs and one really dull, bland piece of "scary" background music ripped from an old NES game) is hardly noteworthy, and some of the rearranged music is not all that special. Also, the animation is very lazy for a movie, and the art isn't all that stellar either. Compare it to the Studio Ghibli classic Castle in the Sky, which came out a mere two weeks later in Japan, and it looks incredibly dated.
Despite dated art and animation, as well as a thin thread of a story, I'll admit that the little kid inside of me enjoyed Super Mario Bros.: Grand Mission to Rescue Princess Peach! At only an hour long, it won't take up much of your time, and it's worth a look at for curiosity's sake as one of the very first animated movies based on a video game. It's much better than most of the American Super Mario Bros. series, at the very least. If you have an hour of free time on your hands, I would recommend you check it out.
A weird, dated, but fun Mario tale for both fans of the game and of anime in general. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: Slapstick violence, for the most part. Fine for kids.
Version(s) Viewed: Pre-license fansub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Super Mario Bros.: Grand Mission to Rescue Princess Peach! © 1985 - 1986 Nintendo
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