Nerdling Tales takes a mostly spoiler free look at cult classics mostly overlooked by the public, movies that failed so hard they won, and the “what in the hell were they thinking” flicks. Join her as she reminisces about what makes these movies so interesting and full of hopeful sequel potential, and yet the general movie going population tends to forget their existence.
Since new photos and information about the highly anticipated Assassin’s Creed are starting to filter out, I thought we could take a look at the first movie based on a video game, Super Mario Bros.
Released: May 28 1993
Directors: Annabele Jankel and Rocky Morton
Writers: Parker Bennett, Terry Runte, Ed Solomon
Stars: Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Samantha Mathis, Fisher Stevens, Richard Edson, Fiona Shaw
Again this is the first movie based on characters from a video game, but it is also the last time Nintendo would allow any of its properties to be a basis for any movies until over 20 years later when they were used in the horrible Adam Sander “comedy” Pixels released earlier this year. It is safe to say that Nintendo may not allow its characters to be used again in movies for a good long while (well they will be used a little in the upcoming Wreck It Ralph 2 but that movie seems to be a safe bet to not suck). They can at least take solace with Super Mario Bros. in that they failed so hard it kinda won. The movie holds a high place in bad cult movie classics and is still a sellout for midnight movie screenings.
The plot establishes the meteor we thought took out the dinosaurs actually sent them into a different dimension where they evolved into human like creatures. In the other world, the evolved reptiles are ruled by the evil, germaphobe Koopa (Hopper). Their world is running out of resources like food and clean air all while a mysterious fungus is growing everywhere and choking the life out of the city. In our world, two plumbers, Mario Mario (Hoskins) and Luigi Mario (Leguizamo), are just trying to get by when they meet Daisy (Mathis), a paleontologist that doesn’t quite feel at home anywhere since she was left on a door step of a church as an
egg baby. Luigi falls in love with her cause she is super pretty and Daisy likes him since he doesn’t think she is really weird for being more comfortable in an underground tunnel surrounded by dinosaur bones than in the real world. Koopa’s two cousins, Spike (Edson) and Iggy (Stevens), kidnap Daisy and bring her to the other dimension because she is a princess that has a rock which will merge the two dimensions and the power to wield it. Mario and Luigi follow to save her and keep Koopa from merging the dimensions and de-evolving humans back to monkeys. It is safe to say that creationists will not like this movie.
The film is a total mess. The directors wanted to make a for adults action/adventure movie, the studio wanted a family friendly outing. The push and pull between the two can be felt when watching the final product. There are moments where things touch on being really dark, and then the action sequences and humor come off as cartoonish. And then there is a great bit with dancing Goombas which somehow became central to the climax of the plot. The actors hated working on the movie. Hoskins, Leguizamo, and Hopper have called it the worst movie they have ever done and had been drinking heavily while filming to get through the ordeal. That is a big part of the fun of watching the movie is seeing these really good actors just hamming it up because you can just tell they gave up trying to make it good, Hopper especially. He claims he was super miserable while filming, but he looks like he is having the time of his life saying the ridiculous dialogue as horribly over the top as he can get.
Since this movie was an origin story of sorts, there was a big set up for a sequel at the end. The movie was so badly received, nothing came of it. There is even an after the credits scene setting up a joke, but no one really knew it was there since this was long before Marvel made sitting through the credits for all geeky movies mandatory.
All in all, it is a bad movie that is fun to watch with some friends and a few drinks on a slow Saturday night.
For those of you who have seen Super Mario Bros., what did you think? Did you like the over the top bad? Or was the adaptation of the video game so traumatizing, you have never been able to look at the Mario brothers the same way again? Let me know what you think of the movie in the comments section and be sure to use the SPOILER tag if you are going to give away too much of the movie. Trust the fungus.