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The 10 Best Small Details In The Super Mario Bros. Movie

This article contains spoilers for "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."

Critics and audiences are split on "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," with fans insisting that it's a nostalgic romp through the Mushroom Kingdom and critics giving it less praise — but it's clear that a lot of love went into this adaptation. Unlike the 1993 "Super Mario Bros." movie that felt pretty far away from the source material, Mario's latest foray into film is packed to the rafters with video game callbacks and easter eggs. "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" isn't the first time the red-shirted plumber graced the silver screen, but it's definitely the most successful. "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" definitely takes some creative liberties with its source material, but SVG's review rated it a solid 10/10 and the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes continues to be extremely high.


Part of the reason for this success is that "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" doesn't forget its roots. In fact, it celebrates them. "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" has too many small details to list them all, but these ten stand out as some of the best. Hardcore gamers will immediately recognize the significance of these moments, but just about anyone can appreciate the effort Illumination put into the final product. 

Put on your overalls and jump down the green pipe with us as we talk about the best small details in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie!"

Mario's room is a treasure trove of callbacks

In "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," Mario lives with his parents and has his own bedroom full of childhood toys and games. We're not here to shame him for staying with mom and dad, but we are here to talk about all the magnificent callbacks scattered throughout the room. When Mario goes to his room to blow off some steam, he plays "Kid Icarus" on his old NES. Above the TV, an Arwing model gives a stylized nod to the "Star Fox" series. The room also has an "F-Zero" poster on the wall. Eagle-eyed viewers can pick out a number of small references like that in Mario's room, both at his parents' house and the home he ends up in at the end of the film.


Viewers can also see a Super Mario Bros. Plumbing flyer hanging up in Mario's room. With its bright yellow background and stylized font, the SMB Plumbing logo itself recalls the box art for "Super Mario Bros. 3." The SMB Plumbing van additionally features a picture of Mario jumping that looks more like his classic video game design than his film look, complete with an rounder appearance. Overall, both Mario's room and the plumbing business have a wealth of callbacks to other Nintendo properties, both in and out of the "Mario" series.

Punch-Out!! Pizzeria

"The Super Mario Bros. Movie" begins and ends right where it should: a pizzeria. And in-the-know viewers will note that the very name of that pizza parlor pays homage to another Nintendo property: "Punch-Out!!"


Punch-Out Pizzeria? Interesting
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Before the movie even released, fans noticed the Punch-Out Pizzeria signage on the SMB Plumbing website, which serves as an ad for the business the brothers set up in the film. One testimonial mentions seeing a Mario Bros. poster hanging up in their favorite pizza spot, and the name immediately clued fans in on just one of the many Nintendo references in the film. The Punch-Out Pizzeria sign only appears in a few frames of the film itself, but the building houses a variety of other references for hardcore Mario fans.

Spike, Mario and Luigi's old boss from "Wrecking Crew" makes an appearance at the pizza parlor, trashing Mario and Luigi's ambitions to strike out on their own. The pizzeria also includes an arcade cabinet for "Jump-Man," which is widely accepted by fans as Mario's original name from the "Donkey Kong" arcade game.


Balloon Fight Billboard

When Luigi, Mario, and the whole Mushroom Kingdom make their way back to New York near the end of the film, viewers get a great look at Illumination's version of New York City. If the Mushroom Kingdom had a ton of callbacks to retro Mario games, New York recognizes the history of Nintendo more generally. One billboard points to one of the oldest Nintendo series — and the most obscure "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" fighter – Mr. Game and Watch.


Mario quickly passes by a billboard featuring Mr. Game and Watch in his "Balloon Fight" gear, floating at the corner of the sign with two balloons fixed to his back. It's difficult to make out what the billboard advertises, but the image of Mr. Game and Watch with the balloons gets a lovely close up. Mr. Game and Watch also appears on a construction sign that Mario and Luigi pass by early in the movie. With a few recorded sightings of Mr. Game & Watch already confirmed, fans may want to keep looking closely on repeat viewings. It's possible this flat favorite is everywhere.

Donkey Kong is here, and so is his rap

If you grew up in the 90s or early 2000s, you know the "DK Rap." You might not remember how or when you learned of it, but the opening theme from "Donkey Kong Country 64" lives in every millennial gamer's heart. The rap also appears in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," serving as the perfect introduction for Donkey Kong himself.


Funny enough, moviegoers meet Cranky Kong before they meet Donkey Kong. "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" establishes Cranky as DK's father – though the games suggest he's DK's grandfather and the original Donkey Kong – and paints Donkey Kong as a showboating warrior, all too ready to impress his many adoring fans. It makes sense, then, that DK should enter the arena where he'll fight Mario to the tune of the 1999 "DK Rap." The movie version of the song doesn't include lyrics, but the classically 90s beat makes the reference clear.

The scene includes several other references to the "Donkey Kong Country" series, with many lesser-known Kongs appearing in the audience of DK and Mario's showdown. Alongside Chunky and Dixie, Diddy can also be seen cheering DK on, confirming that he's still Donkey Kong's biggest fan.


The Galaxy is Out There

Even though "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" partially takes place in New York City, a quick detail suggests that the film's wider universe might look like a fan-favorite "Mario" game.

Early in the film, Mario and Luigi go to their first job as SMB Plumbing, vowing to help a couple (and their adorable dog) with a simple leaky faucet. During the scene, the camera cuts to the couple relaxing on the couch while chaos unfolds upstairs. The male partner lounges while reading a book titled "Galaxy." That's not odd on its own, but the cover of the book also features a small circular planet that resembles the worlds featured in "Super Mario Galaxy" and "Super Mario Galaxy 2." Neither character comments on the book, but its existence in the "real world" of New York City could suggest that space looks a little different than it does in real life. 


Do these tiny planets exist in Mario's world? Will the brothers go there in a future sequel? Peach does say there's a huge world out there with lots of galaxies. For now, fans can only hang on to this small detail and dream.

Royal Wedding Guests

Much like in "Super Mario Odyssey," Bowser's main goal in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is to marry Princess Peach. And he almost gets his way, even going so far as to stage a royal wedding, complete with an audience full of guests. Most of the audience consists of koopa underlings, with Kamek taking on something of a wedding planner role, but a couple of guests have royal titles.


Gamers will recognize King Boo and King Bob-omb in the crowd, towering above the other wedding-goers. King Boo has appeared in most competitive "Mario" titles, like the "Mario Kart" and "Mario Party" series. However, "Luigi's Mansion" marked his first appearance, which gave his character a much more sinister and spooky tone. Although "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" doesn't necessarily make Luigi the star of the show, there are plenty of references to "Luigi's Mansion" throughout, including King Boo.

Fans will most likely best remember King Bob-omb from his antagonistic first appearance in "Super Mario 64." King Bob-Omb takes his seat calmly at the wedding, but his explosive personality comes out soon enough.


Pauline's in Power

Pauline dates back to the very beginning of the "Super Mario Bros." franchise. In fact, Mario might have loved Pauline before he even set eyes on Peach. In "Donkey Kong," Pauline stands on top of the construction beams, waiting for Mario to rescue her. Because of her important spot in the lead character's history, "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" wouldn't really feel complete without a cameo from Pauline. When New York sees a massive leak in its sewer system, news crews interview Pauline, who seems to be the mayor.


This cameo makes sense, as Pauline also acts as the mayor of New Donk City – or the Metro Kingdom – in "Super Mario Odyssey." In "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," Pauline even wears the same red pantsuit she does in "Super Mario Odyssey." Unfortunately, she does not burst into song like in the Switch game.

Much like the "Galaxy" book easter egg, Pauline's presence in the "real world" raises a few questions about how "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" plays with the canon of the video games. Either way, it's a fun nod to the franchise's past.

Familiar settings

Even though the bulk of "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom (with a few scenes in NYC), several other settings get referenced throughout. For example, when Luigi wakes up in the Darklands, the background eerily resembles the barren trees outside the house in "Luigi's Mansion." To emphasize the comparison, Luigi sheepishly flickers on his flashlight and calls out, "Mario?" Total Weegi move.


When Mario and Peach travel to the Jungle Kingdom, they pause in another familiar setting to take in the sights. Peach comments on the beautiful sandy terrain, and "Super Mario Odyssey" fans will recognize the background as the Sand Kingdom, where Tostarena lies. While the "Mario" franchisehas  featured many sand-based worlds over the years, the Sand Kingdom sticks out due to its famous inverted pyramid, which floats in the distance of "The Super Mario Bros. Movie." In "Super Mario Odyssey," tourists travel from far and wide to see the inverted pyramid, and players can spot visitors from the Metro Kingdom milling around the world.

Luigi's ringtone sounds familiar

"The Super Mario Bros. Movie" features more than a few sound cues that fans will recognize. In addition to the "DK Rap," classic tunes from throughout "Mario" history play in the background. In one scene, music from "Mario Kart 8" plays while Peach and Mario build their vehicles alongside the Kongs. In another, Mario and Luigi explore the sewers of Brooklyn as the classic "World 1-2" underground theme plays ominously.


Perhaps the deepest audio cut comes in the form of a tiny detail: Luigi's ringtone. When Luigi's green cell phone rings early in the movie, it emits a sound that might stir some nostalgia for gamers. It is, of course, the iconic opening sound players heard when turning on their GameCube. The GameCube intro being linked to Luigi makes perfect sense, since "Luigi's Mansion" launched alongside the GameCube, tying the two together in many gamers' memories. Luigi's phone case also matches his green color scheme, making it the perfect accessory for a plumber on the go.

It's-a Charles Martinet!

Many fans were bummed to learn that Charles Martinet, who has voiced Mario since 1991, wouldn't appear as the famous plumber in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie." Even longtime Harley Quinn voice actor Tara Strong took issue with Chris Pratt's casting in the lead role. It's easy to understand why folks would want to see Martinet as Mario on the big screen. That said, the voice actor does make an appearance in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," and it's even more heartwarming than expected.


Longtime gamers will immediately recognize Martinet as the voice of Giuseppe, an Italian man hanging out at Punch-Out!! Pizzeria. After Mario and Luigi consider whether or not they should have used exaggerated accents in their first SMB Plumbing commercial, Giuseppe yells that their accents are "Perfect!" He also excitedly shouts "Wahoo!" — just like Mario might in the video games.

More importantly, Martinet voices Mario and Luigi's father, who they attempt to impress with their new business venture. Mr. Mario just wants the best for his sons, and hopes to see the business thrive. While there's no official passing down of a family business to really make the moment extra-corny, Martinet's role as Mario's dad highlights a changing of the guard, so to speak. It feels like Martinet giving Pratt his blessing.