Kids will love it! Parents shouldn’t be too bored either. Because The Super Mario Bros. Movie is short and never lets go of the throttle.

However, we expected more jokes or lines subtly aimed at adults, as the animation studios Pixar or DreamWorks do so well. Especially since the first Super Mario Bros. dates back to 1985 and that generations of gamers who grew up with Nintendo console controllers in their hands are now at least in their twenties.

Still, there are tons of visual references to the many games in the series and its derivatives. But you have to be careful, because everything is going so fast that you can miss some of these winks.

In order for the action to never stop, the story must be simple. So Matthew Fogel (The Lego Movie 2, Minions: The Rise of Gru) stripped down his script to the max. Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day), two New York plumber brothers, are sucked into another universe by large green pipes. Along the way, they are separated. Mario lands in the Mushroom Kingdom where he meets Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy). She explains to him that the vile Bowser (Jack Black) and his army are preparing to invade his territory populated by the adorable Toads. Peach and Mario therefore set off for the Kong jungle in order to convince them to fight alongside them and free Luigi, a prisoner, at the same time.

Unlike other works of the genre, there is no side quest or lead for a potential sequel. We go straight to the point. The origins of the characters are also barely explored. Since the failed Super Mario Bros. in 1993, Nintendo remains very careful with its intellectual properties. The Japanese giant could make billions producing feature films and series, but obviously prefers to control the narrative thread of its vast universe.

Co-directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, who are used to doing whatever they want with DC superheroes in Teen Titans Go!, have had fun with animation studio Illumination creating a magical world, and above all Magnificent. The colors, the textures, the movement, everything is flawless. We visit several places during the adventure and they are all very well detailed.

Many fans expressed their skepticism when Universal announced that Chris Pratt would be the voice of Mario. This mood turned to discontent following the launch of the first trailer. The American actor does not use the Italian accent heard in video games, but uses a higher frequency for some of the favorite expressions of the mustachioed man in overalls, for example “mamma mia”. We almost forget that it is Chris Pratt.

Anya Taylor-Joy isn’t bad, but the princess’ face doesn’t always match The Queen’s Gambit star’s intonations. In contrast, Bowser has the same expressions as Jack Black. Our favorite goes to Keegan-Michael Key, extraordinary in the role of the valiant Toad.

A word about the music: Bryan Tyler (Scream VI, F9: The Fast Saga) is a great cover of Koji Kondo’s original compositions, but can we choose anything other than Thunderstruck and Take On Me? We are also asking for a moratorium on Holding Out for a Hero, which we have heard in three films in the last few weeks.

Although The Super Mario Bros. Movie is aimed at children, the beauty of its animations as well as the messages of courage and determination conveyed can warm all hearts. Otherwise, Lumalee, the depressed and nihilistic little blue star, should at least make the grown-ups smile.