Movie of the Day – Super Mario Bros.

You think this is a motherfucking game?!

How many young kids, like myself in 1993, were absolutely going ape shit that Mario Bros. was finally getting the big screen adaptation that we always never knew we wanted?  I certainly was excited, so much so that I saw this movie in theaters and boy was this a let down, but in a good way.  While this is lauded as a piece of shit to some, to someone like, it’s a pretty piece of shit…I guess.  Whatever, all I know is that it has Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper in a glorious bad movie that I just can’t stop watching.

The two brothers (Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo) live in Manhattan and are chasing Princess Daisy (Samantha Mathis), who wears a necklace made from a meteor fragment. Its powers can free a race of reptilian creatures from the city’s sewers. The villainous ruler of the creatures, who are descendants of dinosaurs, is King Koopa (Dennis Hopper). Koopa has kidnapped Daisy and taken her to the underworld of Dinohattan, which is rat-infested and strewn with garbage. The Mario Brothers must overcome many obstacles, just as they do in video games, to free the princess. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi

Fuck me this is a terrible movie.  Filled with just the cheesiest lines and hammy acting, Super Mario Bros. is just a cash grab if any to make bank on such a hot property.  But its this wonderful maelstrom of terrible movie cliches (a villain runs into a plate glass window carried by movers), so bad it’s good acting, and awesome special effects, I ate this shit up as a kid and I still do.  I mean, it’s 1993 after all, so I can’t really say that you should be expecting a masterpiece from a movie that is based on a video game.  I was just stoked to see Mario and Luigi fight against Koopa, which I sort of got.  Actually the only thing that is cannon for this film is that the brothers are plumbers.  Everything else in the movie is just a smash cut of references and sight gags that remind you that this is a Mario Bros. game.  Stuff like seeing “Bullet Bill’s Restaurant” or “Thwomp Bar” are little things that video game players will find as enjoyable in-jokes.

While everything is just referential to stuff in the video game, like Toad or Bob-ombs, I have to give the movie some credit with the whole design and feel of the movie.  The “Mushroom” “Koopa” Kingdom is this mish mash of dystopian future settings with a wacky sense of video game inspired decor.  There is a lot of character to the movie with the animatronics, cosutme , effects of the movie.  They do manage to shoehorn fireballs, bombs, SNES  Super Scope for weapons and so much more.  It’s a veritable Toys R’ Us filled with wacky designs and other video game inspired decor.  Super Mario Bros. looks like a mess, but that is why it is fun to look at.

It’s not just the design and look of the movie that I love, but for me it’s the acting.  Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo are absolutely enjoyable as the Mario brothers.  While the acting is campy, it’s their level of fun that they have that makes them so palpable in this movie  Don’t get me wrong, I am certain that this is not even remotely their favorite movie they have done, but just seeing Bob Hoskins play an exaggeration of an Italian plumber is funny.  Who steals the show though, mother fucking Dennis Hopper as King Koopa.  He chews the scenes like a fine steak and every moment is just dripping with his personal inflection and touches as an actor.  There were even little touches of his character Frank Booth from Blue Velvet that kind of come out when Koopa gets made.  I really wished he was drinking a Pabst and huffing from some sort of tank.  I will say as a side note, the Princess Daisy (Samantha Mathis) is just too damn cute.

Super Mario Bros. is chock full of sugar that kids like myself wolfed down.  It had everything we wanted to see, mainly it was a Mario Bros. movie.  It had all the cameos like Toad, Yoshia, Big Bertha (the giant fish that swallows Mario in the game) King Toadstool and Goomba’s (which are just really tall, small headed dinos).  The Kingdom that the dinosaurs, oh yeah I forgot to mention that this parallel world the brothers are in is inhabited by evolved dinosaurs, is vibrant and colorful.  The acting is well, there to get from point A to B, but damn if it isn’t great to see Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper chew it up in there.  This is a movie that is best enjoyed with an empty head, one where you can just sit back and laugh at the fact that they made this movie.  It isn’t high art, it’s enjoyable schlock that subversively intriguing enough to get you to watch it.




About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

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