The Super Mario Bros. Movie – Brian Tyler

In the last decade, we have seen a significant rise in adaptations of video games for the big screen. The most successful ones are the two Sonic the Hedgehog movies, based on the computer game character from the early ‘90s. This Sonic character was considered the mascot of the SEGA gaming consoles back in the day, and its biggest competitor for popularity at the time was the Super MarioBros. franchise from Nintendo. This competition is still going strong because, after the successful Sonic movies, Nintendo decided to make their own movie. The Super Mario Bros. Movie is an animated movie following the adventures of Mario, his brother Luigi, their antagonist Bowser, as well as Princess Peach and many other characters from the popular Mario games.

One of the iconic characteristics of the old Mario games are the music themes, which generate nostalgia with those who had played these games all those years ago. The Super Mario Bros. Movie, however, is a recently released movie and is meant, in addition to nostalgia, to attract a younger audience as well. Writing the soundtrack for such a movie, to attract both fans from the old days as well as today’s kids, can be challenging. Brian Tyler is a composer who can be expected to do that perfectly because, as he stated in an interview recently, he played all the Mario games when he was young – and Tyler has written many successful scores over the years.

I did not know what kind of music to expect for this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised by what Tyler had come up with. The first thing I noticed is how he perfectly blends the original themes from the games, composed by Koji Kondo, with a traditional orchestral score and his thematic ideas. Tyler created a handful of original themes for the film,  the most noticeable of which is the main theme. It can be heard best in “Super Mario Bros. Opus,” which is also a perfect example of the blending of the nostalgic theme from the original Mario game with Tyler’s own, something that can be heard many times throughout the score. In addition to the main theme, representing the two Mario brothers, great themes for Bowser and Princess Peach can also be heard from time to time.

The second aspect of why I love the score may even be even more brilliant. The score is quite long, with almost 90 minutes of music, and it is chock-full of all kinds of melodies, but what makes the music so fantastic is the inclusion of many – and I mean many – musical easter eggs from many Mario games, wonderfully integrated with the rest of the orchestral sounds.

I usually like a shortened, more curated album, but there is little to cut in the music Tyler wrote. It is all delightful in sound and unique, especially with all the little nostalgic musical elements. The movie has been a worldwide success, breaking all kinds of records. I am convinced that the music for the film was partly responsible for that success, since it enhances the images on screen with the perfect tunes that the movie needed.

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The highlights are in bold.

  1. Super Mario Bros. Opus (6:42)
  2. Press Start (2:38)
  3. King of the Koopas (3:33)
  4. Plumbin’ Ain’t Easy (1:16)
  5. It’s a Dog Eat Plumber World (1:15)
  6. Saving Brooklyn (1:47)
  7. The Warp Pipe (2:05)
  8. Strange New World (2:03)
  9. The Darklands (2:20)
  10. Welcome to the Mushroom Kingdom (2:18)
  11. 2 Player Game (5:07)
  12. The Mushroom Council (2:07)
  13. The Plumber and the Peach (1:21)
  14. Platforming Princess (1:39)
  15. World 1–1 (2:34)
  16. The Adventure Begins (3:04)
  17. Peaches (1:35)
  18. Lost and Crowned (1:39)
  19. Imprisoned (2:54)
  20. Courting the Kongs (2:00)
  21. Drivin’ Me Bananas (1:20)
  22. Rumble in the Jungle (3:59)
  23. Karts! (1:51)
  24. Practice Makes Perfect (1:00)
  25. Buckle Up (1:31)
  26. Rainbow Road Rage (3:31)
  27. Blue Shelled (2:26)
  28. An Indecent Proposal (3:24)
  29. The Belly of the Beast (1:23)
  30. Fighting Tooth and Veil (3:45)
  31. Tactical Tanooki (2:22)
  32. Mario Brothers Rap (0:58)
  33. Grapple in the Big Apple (3:40)
  34. Superstars (1:39)
  35. The Super Mario Brothers (1:27)
  36. Bonus Level (1:01)
  37. Level Complete (2:32)

Total length: 1 hour and 28 minutes
Back Lot Music (2023)

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