While movies made from video games don’t always do well, Super Mario Bros from 1993 was one that was somewhat underrated and many grew to love.
By Melody MacReady
Published 5 hours ago
Movies based on video games did not have the greatest track record. It wasn’t until more recent films, such as?Sonic The Hedgehog,?that they reached the quality fans expected. Up until that point, video game movies ranged from mediocre to downright awful.
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In 1993, arguably the most iconic video game character of all time, Mario, got his own movie. Not just a movie but a live-action movie titled?Super Mario Bros.,?it?was not received well when it first came out. However, as years went by, those that grew up with the film still have fond memories of it.
Much like comic book movies, everything had to start somewhere. At the time, movies based on video games were non-existent and?Super Mario Bros.?was the first-ever attempt to bring any video game to life.
In a way, despite its flaws, Super Mario Bros. did pave the way for better video game movies down the line including?Sonic The Hedgehog,?Mortal Kombat?(2021), and?Detective Pikachu. There is even another?Super Mario Bros.?movie in the works.
Sadly, the only famous piece of music from the game is featured at the very beginning. After that, never do any familiar songs from Mario gaming history ever appear. This is definitely something that could have helped?Super Mario Bros.?feel closer to their source material.
That being said, legendary composer Alan Silvestri, one of the best action movie composers, did not slack when it came to the score. The main theme for the brothers is upbeat, happy, and bouncy, which is very fitting for these characters. The action scenes, slower scenes, or even just the regular scenes in New York City all feature catchy tracks.
Two Italian plumber brothers come to a strange mushroom kingdom in order to save a princess from an evil reptilian known as King Koopa. By all accounts, that is the plot of both the game and the movie. Yes, it clearly takes liberties with the portrayal of the Mushroom Kingdom, but it still counts.
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At the time, the best?Super Mario Bros.?games?did not have anything in terms of lore or plot to adapt. So, the filmmakers were forced to invent things to match the games, especially in live-action form. If Super Mario Bros. had attempted a perfect replica of the games, it might not have worked in live-action.
It is easy to consider the movie version of the Mushroom Kingdom a betrayal to the games. However, if one were to look at it strictly from a movie perspective, it actually has a lot of effort and creativity put into it. There’s the dystopian world overgrown with fungus, the humanoids that evolved from dinosaurs, and the out-of-this-world vehicles.
If viewed as a bizarre interdimensional sci-fi/fantasy adventure, there is a lot to admire in what the film came up with. Every nook and cranny of the Mushroom Kingdom is handcrafted and filled with a lot of details that one might notice on subsequent viewings.
The digital effects are all over the place in terms of quality. The practical effects, on the other hand, showcase an extreme amount of talent from product design teams. The goofy Goombas and Koopas, the still impressive animatronic of Yoshi, and other monsters all feature a surprising amount of detail that did not need to be there.
Sadly, the detail cannot truly be appreciated by the whole world. The HD remaster of?Super Mario Bros.?on Blu-Ray is only available in certain countries. Everywhere else, the only option for watching is on DVD, which doesn’t look the greatest.
King Koopa, in the movie, is not the fire-breathing dragon with spiked shell gamers might initially think of. Instead,?he is portrayed as a?germophobic rich politician trying to merge his dimension with the human world.
It is a bizarre portrayal and part of that comes from?Hopper’s performance. While not considered one of his best movies, Dennis Hopper clearly has a lot of fun playing an unapologetically evil yet bizarro villain. Nearly every scene featuring King Koopa is so strange?yet?humorous that it’s easy to see him becoming a source of memes.
Fans of the Nintendo games will get a kick out of the many Easter Eggs, references, and items taken straight out of the source material. For example, the De-Evolution Guns that King Koopa and his forces wield are just the Nintendo Super Scope for the SNES but repainted.
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The stomper boots are what help Mario and Luigi jump like in the game. And the cartridges that stompers run on are Bullet Bills from the games. There is even a character named Big Bertha, named after the massive fish enemy from the game. Of course, the Bob-Omb is one of the biggest parts of the climax.
If?Super Mario Bros.?gets anything right, it’s the titular brothers as portrayed by Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo. From the moment it starts, Hoskins and Leguizamo have great chemistry and are clearly having a lot of fun with the banter. When they finally suit up in the iconic red and green outfits, they do look great.
The late Bob Hoskins?himself is, in many ways, a picture-perfect Mario for live-action. He’s more of a mentor figure but he brings a lot of laughs with his grumpy nature while proving to be a perfect hero by the end. Leguizamo’s Luigi is more of a bright-eyed youth with a sense of adventure, which is nearly the opposite of the cowardly but lovable?Luigi of the games.
Proof that?Super Mario Bros.?does have its fans is with the revelation of an extended cut. From the same editor that worked on?The Thief And The Cobbler: Recobbled Cut, a rough cut of the extended?Super Mario Bros.?was revealed. While it is not as drastic of a change as?Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which changed and added many things, there is nearly?30 minutes of extra footage.
This results in many scenes given much better pace, some different dialogue, and less obvious dubbing. There are even some continuity errors fixed. It has fans hoping that the extended cut is given the proper treatment with full restoration of the archive footage.
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Super Mario Bros