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October 27, 2009

Film Fatale: Super Mario Bros.

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Written by: The Movie Lady
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mariocoverAlright. This movie was considered a commercial and critical flop with tons of fans hating it as well. Admittedly I don’t think the creators of this movie did a great job conceptualizing or executing their idea, and the film is directed by two music video directors to boot, Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel. It is however, the first video-game-turned-movie of it’s kind so you have to give them credit for their pioneering courage. Of course everyone knows the famous Super Mario Bros. game which the movie is loosely based on. See, I think this is where they went wrong. With such iconic and loved characters you can’t really experiment and break from the mold and expect to get away with it. Valiant Comics is another group that has braved disappointing the die hard fans by coming out with their series Nintendo Comics System which also did stories for The Legend of Zelda and Captain N: The Game Master. It’s much easier and safer to portray the Mario charaters in a comic by being able to draw them as they appear in the video game. It’s also a better environment to play around with the plots and see what the real Mario’s life is all about outside of kicking bad guy’s butts. To make a feature length film based on the video game is another story.

super_mario_brosThe movie casts Bob Hoskins as Mario, (which I think is genius casting) John Leguizamo as Luigi (which is alright casting I guess) and Dennis Hopper as King Koopa. So that’s all well and good, now who do they cast to play Peach? Wait? There’s no Peach? That’s correct, in her place appears the lesser known Princess Daisy. WHYYYY?!?!?!?! That remains one of man’s unsolved mysteries. We’ve got all the usual, and not so usual suspects. You’re getting ready to watch the movie, the film starts playing, and you hear the Super Mario Bros. theme song begin to play… Ahhhhh, this is what you’ve been waiting for. Then, the mood is ruined by this horrible Brooklyn accent explaining the premise of the story, which feels like it has nothing to do with the video game. The story goes that years ago a meteor blasted our world (Earth) and the Mushroom Kingdom into separate dimensions, and Koopa is determined to merge them once again so he can rule the Earth and get out of the shitty Mushroom Kingdom. To do this he needs a piece of the meteorite that’s missing which Princess Daisy, who doesn’t know she’s Princess Daisy, wears around her neck. Daisy was abandoned and all that was left with her was this meteorite piece. Nowadays she works at this archaeological dig site where coincidentally a portal between our world and the Mushroom Kingdom has been blasted open during some construction prior to discovering the site.

9Now, I have a few bones to pick with this movie. Why is Bowser human looking? And why is he descended from a Tyrannosaurus Rex and not a fire breathing turtle bad ass? When you first see Mario and Luigi you’re like- Who are these guys? They look like the average Joe. Only an hour and six minutes into the film do we get to see them in uniform. The special effects while traveling to the Mushroom Kingdom are horrible and why is Luigi with the princess and not Mario??? And whyyyyy is Toad just this lame ass human guitar singer on the roadside? My most beloved character Yoshi is nothing like the way he appears in the game. Yes he’s actually a dinosaur like he’s supposed to be, unlike some other characters, and yes he’s cute like his counterpart, but he’s not really green or resembling Yoshi in any other way except for his long tongue (which you get to see in one scene). The biggest, or I should say the smallest thing wrong with him is his size; he’s way too small! Yoshi is the size of a dog when he’s supposed to tower over people. The last disgrace I will speak of is how it says Reebok underneath the Bob-omb’s feet. Seriously?

Super Mario Bros The MovieDespite all my criticism of this film, I actually like it. There is so much wrong with it, but it’s still entertaining in its low budget looking 90s way and there are a few gems hidden here and there within the film. For instance, I love that the brothers’ names are Mario Mario and Luigi Mario. That was created for the movie and doesn’t exist for the video game characters, in fact they don’t even have last names in the video game. I also love the character of Big Bertha with her spiky red dress, flying boots and the hilarious dance scene with Mario at the club. Another detail I enjoy is the fact that whenever someone sees a Bob-omb they go bug nuts. I mean they are cute, but in the game they’re lethal and everyone treats them as such. In a scene where Luigi starts a car Mario says “I can’t believe you can do that,” and Luigi replies “Comes from sitting on my butt all day playing video games.” I thought that was cute. The little detail of the cartridges for the boots resembling Bullet Bills, those smiling black bullets, was a nice touch. And my all time favorite thing about this movie is the Goombas and how cute they are. My favorite scene is when Mario and Luigi are in an elevator full of them and Luigi pushes them into swaying with the cheesy elevator music to distract them, and then they all start dancing together.

Most people didn’t like this movie and if you’re a big fan of Super Mario Bros. you probably won’t like it either. They would have done well to do this movie in a Shrek-like style, though the technology didn’t exist at the time. Maybe someone will brave the waters and actually make a good movie about it someday. Until then, if you have an open mind and like cheesy 90s movies, you just might like this one, or at least get a few laughs out of it.


The Movie Lady



  1. Jordan

    OMG!!!! Those pea-heads drive me crazy!!!!

  2. I can definitely appreciate cheesy movies and this is one of the ‘best of the worst.’ As a child I had a much higher expectation and was disappointed by it, as were most Nintendo fans, but when I revisited it recently, i noticed it has a great early 90’s nostalgic vibe that I totally dig.

    Fun Facts: Big Bertha was actually based on that giant Cheep Cheep fish from the games, and Koopa’s cousins where based on two of the
    Koopa kids from Mario Bro. 3.

    Awesome article Movie Lady, and much props for your shout out to the Nintendo Comics System, which was also great!
    Five stars and thumbs up!! šŸ˜€

  3. billy

    This movie was atrocious but it was based on one of the greatest video games of all time, so I’ll give it a little slack.

  4. Decapitated Dan

    Man what a strange movie that was. I always wondered how they came up with the storyline

  5. InfiniteSpeech

    I think you are being too kind Billy lol I also think this movie was horrible because the gameing industry wasn’t taken too seriously at that time and they figured it was “just for kids”. They forgot that kids can spot crap a mile away and this movie was a total letdown. I’m sure my #2 letdown video game move will be reviewed real soon lol

  6. Lol. I loved this movie as a kid and I STILL love it! Yeah, I know it’s bad, but it’s my childhood! Haha. Let the haters hate.

  7. I still love the film. It’s a terrible movie, but it’s also very awesome <3

  8. […] fights, and Spawn’s kick ass cape. Leguizamo’s career was kick started with the movieĀ Super Mario Bros. (that also has a comic series) in 1993. He looks back on that experience badly but bravely, (and […]

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