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All the Easter eggs in The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Nintendo and Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie has dropped into theaters, and fans are blown away by the exciting adaptation of their favorite plumber’s games. This film harvests so much material from over 40 years of games featuring Mario and his friends that practically every moment in this film includes a clever Easter egg to its source material.

Now that the movie has finally been released, here is a comprehensive of all the Easter eggs in this cinematic video game adventure.

Super Smash Bros.

Mario in a fighting stance in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie"
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Mario is forced to fight against Donkey Kong in this film in order to gain his father’s support in the war against Bower. When both combatants duke it out, they do so in an arena that looks like one of the side-scrolling stages from the Super Smash Bros. franchise.

The scene also features shots that could’ve been taken from one of the Smash Bros. games. Donkey Kong even delivers what looks like his Giant Punch from the iconic fighting game franchise.

GameCube ringtone

gamecube-console
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When Mario and Luigi get a call from the first customer of their new plumbing business, Luigi’s phone rings to a tune that should be familiar to gamers who grew up in the early 2000s.

This ringtone is the sound of the startup screen for the Nintendo GameCube in which the console’s logo forms from a small, purple cube. Coincidentally, the first game for the GameCube was the spooky ghost-hunting classic Luigi’s Mansion, one of the best GameCube games of all time.

Mario Kart

Mario and his friends race down Rainbow Road in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
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The best part of the entire film, hands-down, is the battle between Mario and Peach’s army and Bowser’s army on Rainbow Road, which many gamers remember as the bane of their existence playing Mario Kart with their friends.

The whole scene is a spiraling and high-octane thrill ride with many references to classic racing games. The heroes hurl green shells at their enemies, defy gravity like in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and one Koopa Trooper even knocks out Mario as the dreaded blue shell.

Foreman Spike

Sebastian Maniscalco in "Why Would You Do That?"
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After seeing their first commercial as independent plumbers, Mario and Luigi run into their old boss, Foreman Spike, who is voiced by the incomparable Sebastian Maniscalco.

Die-hard fans should recognize Spike as Mario and Luigi’s boss from the Wrecking Crew game series, which makes for a terrific reference to an obscure character from Mario and Luigi’s early years.

Power-ups

Cat Mario in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."
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It wouldn’t be a Mario movie without some cool power-ups. Mario especially needs to consume red mushrooms (which he hates) in order to gain new strength. But there are many other power-ups fans will recognize from the games.

In one scene, Mario can be seen gliding through the air in the Tanooki Suit from Super Mario Bros. 3. In another, Mario dons the Cat Suit from Super Mario 3D World in his gladiator match against Donkey Kong. Peach also harnesses the power of a Fire Flower and an Ice Flower, and the latter allows her to gain the upper hand against Bowser.

Different worlds

The Sand Kingdom in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."
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Throughout their journey to the Jungle Kingdom, Mario, Peach, and Toad have to cross through many iconic locations from the Mario franchise.

There’s the Sand Kingdom from Super Mario Odyssey, the Bob-omb Battlefield from Super Mario 64, the Rock Candy Mines from New Super Mario Bros. U, and the bridge surrounded by Cheep Cheeps that has appeared in some form in many different games. They even cross the fields of Yoshi Island with a herd of the titular dinosaurs roaming in the background.

Hanging out

Multiple cages in Bowser's dungeon in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."
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When Luigi is captured by Bowser, he is thrown into a cage hanging from a chain over a pit of lava. These cages are reminiscent of the ones that have held Peach in the games, conveying how Luigi has replaced her as the story’s person in distress.

And in this infernal dungeon, Luigi encounters many prisoners of different species, and some of them look like they were once part of Bowser’s army. Somehow, there’s even a blue Luma from Super Mario Galaxy that taunts Luigi with sadistic and nihilistic glee.

Kid Icarus

Nintendo

When Mario is left bummed out by his family’s criticisms over his new career choice, he retires to his bedroom and plays the cult classic NES game, Kid Icarus.

Even for a Nintendo film, this was the last place audiences expected to see Pit on the big screen. Unless Nintendo does make a Kid Icarus film, this might be the closest this angel gets to starring in a movie (excluding that anime trailer with Link).

Punch-Out

Nintendo

The film surprisingly makes a small reference to Punch-Out, another NES game outside of the Super Mario Bros. universe. This classic is particularly infamous for the final boss fight between challenger Little Mac and the heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, who’s almost impossible to beat. However, the filmmakers snuck a nod to this boxing game with the appearance of Punch-Out Pizzeria in Brooklyn.

Classic songs

Toad singing in Super Mario Odyssey.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Since this movie pays numerous tributes to Nintendo’s classic games, it naturally uses many iconic songs from the Super Mario Bros. franchise. To name just a few, the theme of the underground levels plays as Mario and Luigi explore the sewers of Brooklyn.

The music for Bowser’s airship levels is heard when he invades the Penguin Castle. Audiences even hear the theme song of Captain Toad when Mario’s buddy Toad first appears in the film.

The DK Rap

Rap intro from Donkey Kong 64.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The film doesn’t just use music from Mario games. When Donkey Kong makes his grand entrance for his battle against Mario, he appears in the arena with the rap song from Donkey Kong 64 playing in the background.

While it’s a loving tribute to DK’s classic 3D game, the song’s composer Grant Kirkhope has recently voiced his frustration on Twitter over not being included in the film’s credits after it had used his creation.

Mayor Pauline

Mayor Pauline in "Super Mario Odyssey."
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When a major pipe burst is reported on the Brooklyn News, audiences hear a brief statement released by none other than Mayor Pauline herself.

While Pauline first appeared as the damsel in distress in the classic Donkey Kong game, her character experienced a resurgence as the mayor of New Donk City in Super Mario Odyssey. Her character thus appears in the film wearing her mayoral attire from the latter game.

Baby Mario and Luigi

Mario Kart 8 review
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After Luigi is captured by a team of Bowser’s Shy Guys, he remembers when Mario protected him from a playground bully when they were babies.

In this flashback, both brothers look like they do as infants in the Yoshi’s Island games. Not only is this a loving reference to the Super Mario Bros. in their childhood years, but it also conveys how long Mario has supported his brother and defended him from the world.

The original Mario

Mario twirls his cap in front of New Donk City in Super Mario Odyssey.
Nintendo

Many audiences had previously criticized the filmmakers for having Chris Pratt voice Mario in this film instead of the character’s original voice actor Charles Martinet. However, Martinet does lend his voice in this film by portraying Mario and Luigi’s disapproving father, Giuseppe.

He also voices a customer at Punch-Out Pizzeria playing a “Jump Man” arcade game, who looks and sounds very much like the Mario many fans fondly know from the games.

Bowser’s wedding outfit

Bowser holds Peach in Super Mario Odyssey.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Bowser’s plan in this film is to offer the Super Star to Princess Peach in exchange for her hand in marriage. Though she refuses his outlandish request, the Koopa King forces her to marry him in exchange for her people’s lives.

The wedding then goes into full gear with Bowser rocking his white wedding suit from Super Mario Odyssey, which seems to match the whole Elton John vibe he’s going for with his piano playing in the film.

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Anthony Orlando
Anthony Orlando is a writer/director from Oradell, NJ. He spent four years at Lafayette College, graduating CUM LAUDE with a…
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