REVIEW – ‘Super Mario Bros.’

Written by J.T. Johnson

1-star

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: May 28, 1993
DIRECTORS: Rocky Morton, Annabel Jankel
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Dean Semler
WRITERS: Parker Bennett, Terry Runte, Ed Solomon
MUSIC: Alan Silvestri

Later this month, “Assassin’s Creed” will be the latest attempt at bringing a video game property to the big screen. While waiting to see if that will be added to the pile of terrible video game adaptations or break the longstanding curse, I decided to take another look at what has to be the worst one of them all.

Yes, I’ve decided to take a look at “Super Mario Bros.” from 1993. Yes, that means that I recently re-watched the whole thing. Yes, my IQ has fallen as a result.

How in the fuck did this movie get made? Don’t get me wrong, I know that Mario was a household name thanks to the Nintendo games and it’s not a surprise that Hollywood would want to make a movie based the property. No, my question specifically is how did this version of the movie get made.

According to the history, there are several scripts that existed before they settled on the one the filmmakers ended up using. The movie was supposed to focus more on the familial relationship between Mario and Luigi, but just before production began, the studio forced the filmmakers to gear the story more towards the kids in the audience. Even with this information, though, I still don’t understand how this piece of garbage was made.

Besides including characters named Mario, Luigi, Koopa, and Daisy, this movie has very little to do with the game on which it is based. I’ll try my best to explain this absolutely bonkers story. It’s simple, but it goes all over the place.

Apparently, 65 million years ago, a meteor hit in the place that would one day become Brooklyn and killed off all the dinosaurs. However, instead of killing off the dinosaurs, it sent them into a parallel dimension and they eventually evolved into the human beings of that dimension and a dystopian version of Brooklyn was created called Dinohattan.

In our world, a lost princess named Daisy (Samantha Mathis) is discovered and she is kidnapped by those loyal to President Koopa (Dennis Hopper). A couple of plumbers named Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) are hot on Koopa’s trail as they attempt to rescue Daisy and stop Koopa from merging the two dimensions into one.

First off, let me tell you what the movie gets right…

Okay, now to the bad stuff. This movie is just completely broken. The story is ludicrous, the production design is appalling, and the only people trying are the actors who are desperately trying to make this broken film work.

Even the score by award the winning composer Alan Silvestri is subpar. Nothing about this movie, except for Mario and Luigi’s costumes in the second half, really remind you about Nintendo’s classic platformer. What kills me is the excuse that they gave at the time for why the film bombed at the box office.

“Jurassic Park” came out a week after this movie and the producers said that the movie stole the box office that would have gone to “Super Mario Bros.” Either they were lying or they were in complete denial about how bad this movie really is. It does get one star for its actors, all of whom at least try to make this a good time and it does almost fall into the “it’s so bad, it’s good” category, but I just can’t recommend this absolutely appalling video game adaptation.

Let’s face it. There have been very few decent adaptations of video games into movies and I actually can’t think of one that’s gone on to become a genuine classic. So for me to say that “Super Mario Bros.” is the worst of the bunch, that’s truly saying something. If you even get the slightest inclination to watch this movie… Stay the fuck away.

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