Why The “Super Mario Bros” “Minion” Movie Will Be a Total Disaster

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Nintendo/Ubisoft)

This week, Nintendo has announced a little piece of news that we’ve all been aware of (unofficially) for quite a while: the computer games juggernaut is partnering with Illumination, the guys who make the “Minion” movies, in order to make a brand new “Super Mario Bros” movie.

Because that went so well the last time.

Original Mario Bros Movie
Source: Buena Vista

This deal fits with a few risky branding ventures that Nintendo has embarked on recently, presumably out of a mistaken idea that their company is untouchable. All those Switch sales have very quickly gone to Nintendo’s head, as the company yet again assumes that everything they touch turns to gold.

In fact, a Mario movie from the guys who created the ongoing Minion blight feels very reminiscent of a game that came out last year, which paired the Italian-American plumber with a different annoying collection of identical memes on legs.

“Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle” is a game in which Mario has to shoot rabbits in the face. Thankfully, the rabbits in question are horribly annoying, so nobody really cares.

Mario Rabbids
Source: Nintendo/Ubisoft

The game was made by Ubisoft in a weird partnership deal, and while it retains the standard Super Mario art and design aesthetic, is stinks of an outsider’s influence. The game just doesn’t feel like a Mario title, which can probably be expected considering that it’s a tactical shooter for some ridiculous reason.

The fact that this is the first major Switch release starring Mario to end up in game store bargain bins speaks volumes about the reception that “Mario + Rabbids” has endured. Some people like it, most people don’t care as much as Ubisoft hoped they would.

It’s hard not to imagine the Illumination Mario movie ending up the same way. There’s a very distinct charm that Nintendo creates with its Mario games that can never quite be replicated by anyone else who’s given the chance to play with the brand.

Even with series creator Shigeru Miyamoto involved as a producer, it’s hard to imagine that this is really going to live up to expectations. The Mario movie will probably be more fun than anything starring an actual minion, but it remains to be seen whether the film will actually be more fun than just playing a Mario game.

This is the big obstacle that video game movies always run into: playing a game is generally more fun than watching a film. It’s a difficult truth to accept, but it’s also hard to argue with.

Of course, the Mario movie isn’t really coming out because Nintendo hopes to take the cinematic world by storm and earn an obligatory “Boss Baby” style Oscar nomination.

The real inspiration behind this film is obvious: Sonic the Hedgehog is getting a movie soon, and Nintendo wants to one-up their greatest rival.

Or, should we say, Nintendo wants to 1-Up their rival.