Super Mario Bros. has the potential to be the most successful video game adaptation yet, but it needs to take a page from Sonic the Hedgehog to get there. Nintendo is teaming up with the animation company Illumination to create a 3D animated film based on the famed plumber, over 30 years after the unfortunate but unforgettable live-action Super Mario Bros. film. Super Mario Bros has already acquired notoriety for its surprise voice cast, which includes Chris Pratt as Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Charlie Day as Luigi, and Jack Black as Bowser, despite the fact that many aspects are still unknown.
Sonic, the blue blur and long-time Mario foe, made a box-office hit in 2020's Sonic the Hedgehog, starring Jim Carrey and James Marsden and voice Sonic by Ben Schwartz. The film follows the title character as he hides out in a little Montana hamlet until the mustache-twirling Dr. Robotnik discovers him. It grossed over $300 million worldwide and is still the highest-grossing video game adaptation of all time as of this writing. So, how can Super Mario Bros. match that level of success?
Things were kept simple for Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic the Hedgehog was about as plain and conventional as it could get in terms of characters, story, and structure. Sonic the Hedgehog's accessibility was ensured by avoiding an overly intricate or lore-heavy plot, and Super Mario Bros. must do the same if it is to have the same level of popularity.
Sonic the Hedgehog was unique among video games in that it avoided the baggage associated with them. Big the Cat and Vector the Crocodile did not feature in any of the Sonic games, despite the fact that they are two of the most popular characters among Sonic fans. Sonic's unexpectedly deep and esoteric backstory, on the other hand, is nowhere to be seen. It's all about the hedgehog for a general audience, and that's where the movie stayed focused. Super Mario Bros. should follow suit. While the games are simple, there is a lot of content to choose from. Foreman Spike, an exceedingly obscure character from one of Mario's early appearances, has already been confirmed for Super Mario Bros. While these kinds of cameos are entertaining, the film should avoid following Sonic the Hedgehog's lead and drowning in self-reference.
Sonic the Hedgehog was well aware that his plot wasn't the most interesting. The film is a full-fledged Sonic origin narrative, but it's rarely mentioned because the focus is on the present. The search for Sonic's missing rings is a MacGuffin in the best sense of the term. The goal reunites Sonic and his sidekick, sheriff Tom Wachowski, but only as a pretext for a series of entertaining set-pieces. The plot could care less about Sonic and Wachowski spending the night in a hotel, but it's a delightful excuse to show Sonic lounging around in a bath towel. Super Mario Bros. must achieve a similar accomplishment, constructing a tale that is simple enough to keep things moving forward without getting in the way of fun diversions.
At the end of the day, Super Mario Bros. has to provide the players what they desire. It should be a pleasant journey that capitalizes on Mario's trademark iconography while avoiding becoming mired down with mythology. Sonic the Hedgehog featured various easter eggs, but at its core was a good plot that allowed for the pleasure that fans wanted, a lesson that Super Mario Bros. should learn.