Animated Mario says, “this is me in real life.”
FX artist/director/producer/person who gets it, Banks, understands the eternal rivalry that is Mario vs Donkey Kong at a base level. He understands their feud, and he understands that videogames exist in their own world. To adapt them into something that betrays their original intention. Videogames are weird universes in which a plumber is rescuing his girlfriend from a piece of scaffolding assembled by a gorilla. Simple. Don’t change them, filmmakers, indulge along with them!
Of course, there are magical elements. Even the supernatural. But when it comes down to it, Mario is just a dude who is climbing some ladders, doing whatever he can to get his lady back. It’s a love story. Banks understands what needs to be done, and highlights everything that makes Mario, Mario… But gritty and fun.
Unlike, you know, the people who made the Super Mario Bros. film back in 1993. They didn’t get anything about their subject, and we were left with weird, Dennis Hopper lizard men and magic.
Actually, when you think about it, the decades-old Super Mario Bros. movie is so utterly insane, it would probably do pretty well as a digital short. Cut it down to about 3.5 minutes, show off the special effects and remove Super Mario Bros. from the title and it might be a winner in some sort of weird, lizard-fetish subculture.