Super Mario Bros.

If you’ve been reading this site for a while, or if you just peruse the review archives, you’ll notice something about Internal Bleeding.  We love 80’s and 90’s unconditionally, and that love goes hand in hand with our love of the cinema from that period of time.  Along with spending a lot of my formative years watching garbage movies, I also spent a lot of time playing video games, and Nintendo in particular.  I can remember spending hours sitting around at either my house or my friend’s houses playing games from the Super Mario franchise.  One really strong memory I have is when my friend Bobby told us all that he was getting Super Mario Bros. 2 for his birthday in October, and that he had already found his copy under his parents bed and had beaten it.  After we had proven that he was a liar, we made sure to promptly beat him.  With all that greatness surrounding that entire series of games, you can only imagine the excitement that my friends and I had when we heard the announcement that they were making a SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE!

Mario was the closest thing to mainstream popularity that the video game world had seen outside of Pong and Pac-Man, and the idea of someone actually making a movie out of a video game was a ridiculous but enticing concept.  Surely it would feature Mario, his brother Luigi, Princess Toadstool (or as she came to be known, Princess Peach), and Bowser, would it?  Well… sort of.  By that, I mean there are characters named Mario and Luigi, and there was a princess – Princess Daisy, and King Koopa (which was another name for Bowser), but he wasn’t a Dragon/Turtle like he was in the game, he was a dude that supposedly evolved from the Tyrannosaurus Rex.  I could go on and on about the difference was between the movie and the games, but this is about the time that we should separate the two.  Let’s get down to the actually story of the film, shall we?

Years ago, a meteor crashed in current day Brooklyn, and by doing so, erased the dinosaurs from this world.  The giant collision transported them to another dimension where they eventually evolved into humanoids, and developed only one city on their other Earth, where the rest of the world was covered in desert.

Fast forward to current day, where Mario and Luigi are plumbers in Brooklyn who aren’t having much luck staying employed.  It seems that the large Scapelli Construction Company is taking all of their jobs.  Mario and Luigi finally get a call where their skills are needed urgently.  Unfortunately, by the time they make it to the job the Scapelli’s are already there.  To make a bad situation worse, their work van has overheated and needs repair.  While Mario works on the car, Luigi meets a beautiful girl named Daisy who is working on a excavation site where dinosaur bones have been found.  After a dinner date, Luigi is walking Daisy home when she asks him if he wants to see her dig site.  He agrees, and while they’re down there the Scapelli company sabotages the site by trying to flood it.  Mario and Luigi get to work trying to get the situation under control, but sneaking around in the background are King Koopa’s lackey cousins who kidnap Daisy and bring her through an inter dimensional portal that takes them back to the dinosaur world.  Mario and Luigi follow, determined to save Daisy.

Once in the dino dimension we find out that it is a dystopian world devoid of resources and is run with an iron fist.  We also find out that Daisy is actually a princess – the offspring of the old king who has been turned into a giant mushroom by King Koopa.  Koopa has been devolving his own people when they disobey his wishes by turning them into what he calls “goombas”, which are ordinary citizens who have been devolved into little headed reptiles with human bodies.  He’s found that these ‘goombas” are extremely stupid, but brutal body guards with unquestioning loyalty to their king.  He has also discovered that Daisy is in possession of a shard of the meteor that crashed to Brooklyn and split his world from ours.  Once the shard and the original meteor are combined, Koopa can then merge the dino world with our Earth so that they can steal our resources and take it over by wiping out the humans with their devolve guns that will transform us back into our mammalian ancestors – chimpanzees.

So I’ve already spent the last few paragraphs just explaining the plot…  Read those over a few times and then ask yourself if you have any idea what’s going on?  I’ve tried to explain it in the most clear way possible but I think I’ve also captured the essence of how disjointed the plot actually is – and that’s one of my major criticisms of this movie.  I realize that this movie shouldn’t be compared to the games, because doing so would just drive us insane, but this movie was obviously aimed at kids.  While it’s true that you can have a successful kids movie without much of a plot as long as what’s going on onscreen is funny or keeps their interest, you can’t ignore the fact that most kids seeing this movie are familiar with Mario and Luigi and they expect these characters to be like the ones they know from the video games they love.  Maybe it’s impossible to make a movie based on the Mario Brothers, and if it is, this film is the strongest piece of evidence for that argument.  When you’re used to seeing a game world full of colorful backgrounds, characters and enemies, the worst thing you could probably do is set 3/4 of a movie based on that world in a dystopian dimension that bears no resemblance to anything found there.  This movie should be a lesson to every director and screenwriter out there that thinks they can make a good movie based on a video game.  Here are just a couple things that they should take into consideration (but still haven’t yet):

  1. When making a movie based on an established video game franchise – don’t give arbitrary characters in the film names of characters from the game just so you can feel like you’ve linked the two worlds together.  If the film version bears no striking resemblance to the game version, people are going to notice.   Some examples from this movie are Yoshi and Toad.  At the rate they were going, they might as well called some random tranny walking through one of the few sets of the film “Birdo” and called it a day… wait, that might have actually worked out…
  2. You don’t have to do a literal interpretation of the game world and story, because as much as we might like to think that most games have this great story to them, they don’t.  Just try to capture some of the essence of that game world.  Actually, if you try to recreate too much of that original game world, it will probably turn out just as bad, if not worse than if you totally abandon it and try to make something of your own.  We’ve already seen it in the game, give us something original.

Super Mario Bros. is just a trainwreck of a movie pulling your attention in every direction except the one that would help you enjoy it.  I feel like I can’t blame the actors for how bad the film turned out, though.  I think that Bob Hoskins (as Mario Mario… yeah, that’s right – the Mario brothers’ last name is Mario… duh, right?), John Leguizamo (as Luigi Mario) and the late Dennis Hopper (as King Koopa) do their best to salvage what they’ve been given, but the whole story is such a mess that it was doomed regardless of who they put in those roles.  I mean, who wants to watch a Mario movie where they have to find special boots that let them jump high – and by jumping high, I mean floating like they were standing on a platform – and dancing with fat black women to “Walk the Dinosaur“?  The whole thing is ridiculous.  The only redeeming quality I can think of for this film is the fact that it’s known as being such a bad movie.  Connoisseurs of cinematic filth can watch this and appreciate it for being garbage, and it helps remind us that there are a lot of filmmakers out there that can make something a lot more entertaining with a lot less.  Even though we might like movies that most people think are shit, they’re still better than Super Mario Bros.  *Insert Super Mario Brothers “You died” music here* 1.5 THEY’RE CALLED BOB-OMBS, NOT BA-BOMBS – AND THEY DON’T WEAR REEBOKS out of 5.

One thought on “Super Mario Bros.”

  1. Hi! Love your blog, I’m a B-movie addict (especially 80’s B-movies) and I work in film. I thought I’d share a doc I saw recently – It warmed my heart seeing “Popatopolis” (I saw it in the theater, but the DVD is out: Popatopolis Trailer ). The film covers Jim Wynorski, one of the most prolific B-movie directors of all time, as he shoots his masterpiece The Witches of Breastwick in three days. The despair of the sound guy who has to keep rolling all the time because he never quite knows whether camera is rolling – the line where Jim goes to rent a light kit and asks for something that is good for lighting breasts (and ends up with all of two lights), and the scene where they fake fire in a dark park using flashlights (“we could get a generator, a light, and a permit” “Yeah, that’d be one way to do it”) had me rolling – especially knowing that Wynorski made more money off of this microbudget film than I’ve made off of all the films I’ve made put together. Sort of puts things into perspective.

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