Super Mario Bros. (film)

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Super Mario Bros.
Supermariobros.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rocky Morton
Annabel Jankel
Produced by Jake Eberts
Roland Joffé
Written by Parker Bennett
Terry Runté
Ed Solomon
Based on Super Mario Bros. 
by Shigeru Miyamoto
Takashi Tezuka
Starring Bob Hoskins
John Leguizamo
Dennis Hopper
Samantha Mathis
Narrated by Dan Castellaneta
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Dean Semler
Edited by Mark Goldblatt
Production
company
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc. (US) Entertainment Film Distributors (UK)
Release dates
  • May 28, 1993 (1993-05-28)
Running time 104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $48 million[1]
Box office $20,915,465[1]

Super Mario Bros. is a 1993 American science fiction fantasy adventure comedy film[2] directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel. A loose live-action adaptation of the 1985 Nintendo video game of the same name, the film stars Bob Hoskins as Mario, John Leguizamo as Luigi, Dennis Hopper as King Koopa, and Samantha Mathis as Princess Daisy. It tells the story of the Mario brothers, as they find a parallel universe, where King Koopa is a dictator. They have to rescue Princess Daisy and stop Koopa from attempting to merge the dimensions so that he could become a dictator of both worlds.

Super Mario Bros. was released on May 28, 1993 in the United States. Though a critical and financial failure, the film was nominated for two Saturn Awards (one for Best Costume, the other for Best Make-up).

Plot[edit]

Mario and Luigi are two Italian American plumbers living in Brooklyn. The brothers are being driven out of business by the mafia-like Scapelli Construction Company, led by contractor Anthony Scapelli. Luigi falls in love with an orphaned NYU student, Daisy, who is digging under the Brooklyn Bridge for dinosaur bones. After a date, she takes Luigi to the dig and witnesses Scapelli's men (who, along with Scapelli himself, had previously threatened her to end her research on that specific piece of land for their own interests) sabotage it by leaving the water-pipes open. Luigi tries to stop it but he does not have his tools on him so he cannot fix it. They rush back to his apartment where they inform Mario about the incident. The three go back to the flooding and the brothers manage to fix it but are knocked out by two strange characters, Iggy and Spike, who proceed to kidnap Daisy.

Mario and Luigi awaken a minute later and head deeper into the caves following Daisy's screams and discover an interdimensional portal through which Mario and Luigi follow Daisy. They find themselves in a strange dystopian parallel world where a human-like race evolved from dinosaurs rather than the mammalian ancestry of true humans in a Manhattan-like city. Sixty-five million years ago, a meteorite crashed into the Earth and in doing so ripped the universe into two parallel dimensions. All the surviving dinosaurs of the time crossed over into this new realm. Iggy and Spike turn out to be henchmen (and cousins) of the other world's germophobic and obsessive dictator, King Koopa, descended from the this movie's most revered dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus-Rex. However, the two have failed to also bring Daisy's rock, a meteorite fragment which Koopa is trying to get in order to merge his world with the real world that separated from Koopa's world during the meteor strike. It turns out that Daisy is the Princess of the other dimension but when Koopa overthrew Daisy's father (and de-evolved him into fungus), Daisy's mother took her to New York using the inter-dimensional portal. The portal was then destroyed, killing Daisy's mother in the process, but when Scapelli was blasting at the cave, the portal was reopened. When Koopa hears about the re-opening of the portal, he sends Spike and Iggy to find Daisy and the rock to merge the dimensions and make Koopa dictator of both worlds. Spike and Iggy, however, who had grown more intelligent after being subjected to one of Koopa's experiments due to their incompetence, decide to turn on Koopa and join forces with Mario and Luigi. Koopa thinks only Daisy can merge the worlds, but Mario and Luigi were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Daisy is eventually rescued by the plumbers, along with the help of Toad, a good natured guitarist punished by Koopa for performing music protesting his reign, then condemned to be "de-evolved" into a Goomba; one of apparently two main possible de-evolution outcomes, the other outcome being an Allosaurus(a Koopa Troopa.)

Eventually, the two worlds merge and Koopa inadvertently devolves Scapelli into a chimpanzee (a little inaccurate for human de-evolution) while aiming for Mario, but Luigi and Daisy take back the rock and the worlds separate again. Mario confronts Koopa back in Dino-Manhattan and eventually wins when he and Luigi devolve him and blast him with a Bob-omb into a chain suspended vat, transforming him into a ferocious, semi-humanoid Tyrannosaurus. Koopa then lunges from the vat, not far away from the brothers, for a final attack; but Mario and Luigi destroy him by devolving him further into a true Tyrannosaur, but too much for him to survive, thus de-evolving him even further into primeval slime. Upon Koopa's untimely end, Daisy's father turns back to normal and reclaims control over the kingdom stating he loves those plumbers. The citizens destroy anything involving Koopa. As the brothers return home, Luigi and Daisy admit their love for one another but Daisy cannot return to New York until the damage caused by Koopa is reversed and she spends more time with her father. Mario rephrases Daisy's words to Luigi but he does not care. A deeply hurt and saddened Luigi kisses her goodbye and the two brothers return to New York, while Daisy watches them leave. About three weeks later, Daisy returns for Mario and Luigi's help in fighting more villains. Meanwhile, Mario and Luigi's story is televised, giving them the name: "Super Mario Bros."

In a post-credits scene, two Japanese business executives talk about making a video game based on Iggy and Spike, who decide on the title: "The Super Koopa Cousins"; satirical to the Super Mario bros. video game franchise.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

The suggestion for a film based on the Super Mario Brothers was first put forward by Roland Joffé during a script meeting at his production company Lightmotive. Joffé met the Nintendo of America president and Hiroshi Yamauchi's son-in law Minoru Arakawa. He presented Arakawa with an initial draft of the script. One month after their meeting, Joffé went to Nintendo's corporate headquarters in Kyoto spending 10 days waiting to meet Hiroshi Yamauchi. After some time, Joffé received a phone call summoning him to Yamauchi's office. He pitched to Yamauchi the storyline which led to Nintendo receiving interest in the project. When Joffé was questioned about Nintendo having to sell the rights to a small studio company instead of a major company, he believed that Nintendo would have more control over the film.[3] Joffé left with a $2 million contract giving the temporary control of the character of Mario over to Joffé.[4]

Four drafts of the script were made. The first draft written by Jim Jennewein and Tom S. Parker focused on a comedic take on fairy tale themes on a story focusing on Mario and Luigi attempting to rescue a princess named Hildy from Koopa.[5]

Joffé visited Harold Ramis to offer him the job of being the director of the film. Ramis took up the meeting as he was a fan of the Super Mario Bros game but declined the offer.[6] Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel were hired to direct based on their work on the television series Max Headroom.[4]

Casting[edit]

After securing the rights to the film, Lightmotive went to work finding the casting for the characters. Danny DeVito was approached to play Mario and direct the film but wanted to read the script before signing.[7] Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Keaton were both approached to play the part of King Koopa. All three actors decided not to accept the offers. Lightmotive managed to secure Tom Hanks for the role of Mario with some film executives believing that Hanks was worth more than the studio could afford.[8] Hanks was later dismissed and Bob Hoskins was hired, who was believed to be a more profitable actor.[4]

Reception[edit]

Critical reaction[edit]

As of May 2013, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 16% of critics gave positive reviews based on 32 reviews. The site's consensus states: "Despite flashy sets and special effects, Super Mario Bros. is too light on story and substance to be anything more than a novelty."[9] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two thumbs down on the television program Siskel & Ebert At the Movies,[10] and the film was on their list for one of the worst films of 1993.[11] Michael Wilmington of the Los Angeles Times disapproved of the film's script.[12] However, Hal Hinson of the Washington Post gave a positive review, praising the film for its spirit and later went on to say, "In short, it's a blast."[13] Janet Maslin of The New York Times gave another positive review, but said that the film "doesn't have the jaunty hop-and-zap spirit of the Nintendo video game from which it takes – ahem – its inspiration."[14]

Legacy[edit]

In the Nintendo Power 20th anniversary retrospective issue, as they chronicled the games and other related releases over the magazine's life span, the film's release was listed, to which the issue stated that, despite the film's poor quality, the fact that it was made shows how much the game series had impacted popular culture.[15]

Bob Hoskins spoke critically of Super Mario Bros., saying that it was "the worst thing I ever did" and that "the whole experience was a nightmare" in a 2007 interview with The Guardian.[16] In another interview with The Guardian, Hoskins answered Super Mario Bros. to three of the questions he was asked, "What is the worst job you've done," "What has been your biggest disappointment," and "If you could edit your past, what would you change?"[17]

John Leguizamo also admitted in 2007 that he too disliked his role as Luigi in the film, and expressed dissatisfaction with the film's direction. He said in his biography that perhaps the reason why the film turned out the way it did was that the studio wanted a more family friendly film while the directors wanted it to be more adult-like. He also said that both he and Bob Hoskins did not enjoy working on the film, frequently getting drunk to go through it, knowing that it would turn out bad.[18]

Dennis Hopper was also disparaging of the production, "It was a nightmare, very honestly, that movie. It was a husband-and-wife directing team who were both control freaks and wouldn't talk before they made decisions. Anyway, I was supposed to go down there for five weeks, and I was there for 17. It was so over budget."[19]

Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario's creator, stated, "[In] the end, it was a very fun project that they put a lot of effort into," but also said, "The one thing that I still have some regrets about is that the movie may have tried to get a little too close to what the Mario Bros. video games were. And in that sense, it became a movie that was about a video game, rather than being an entertaining movie in and of itself."[20] Nintendo since has not produced any more live-action theatrical films based from their video game franchises. Since then, a Metroid film was put into development but plans eventually fell through.[21]

The Rifftrax crew, consisting of Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy, the former stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 added "Super Mario Bros." to their lexicon of Video-On-Demand titles on their website Rifftrax.com on March 21, 2014.[22]

Soundtrack[edit]

Super Mario Brothers
Soundtrack album by Various
Released May 10, 1993
Genre Pop, Rock, Metal, Funk, Hip hop, Soul, Jazz rap
Label Capitol
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[23]
Entertainment Weekly D[24]

The soundtrack, released on Capitol Records, featured two songs from Roxette: "Almost Unreal" which was released as a single. The music video for "Almost Unreal" was inspired by the film, featuring scenes from the film and a de-evolution theme. "Almost Unreal" was originally written for the film Hocus Pocus but was never used and ended up attached to the Mario film instead. The change angered Roxette co-founder Per Gessle.[25] The film's score was composed by Alan Silvestri. It has not been officially released, though bootleg copies do exist.

George Clinton (who covered the Was (Not Was) song - "Walk The Dinosaur") released a single in 1993 that contained various other versions of the same song, including a Club Remix, a "Funky Goomba" Remix, a "Goomba Dub Mix" and an Instrumental version.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Almost Unreal" - Roxette
  2. "Love Is the Drug" - Divinyls (cover of a song by Roxy Music)
  3. "Walk the Dinosaur" - George Clinton & The Goombas (cover of a song by Was (Not Was))
  4. "I Would Stop the World" - Charles and Eddie
  5. "I Want You" - Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
  6. "Where Are You Going?" - Extreme
  7. "Speed of Light" - Joe Satriani
  8. "Breakpoint" - Megadeth
  9. "Tie Your Mother Down" - Queen
  10. "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" - Us3
  11. "Don't Slip Away" - Tracie Spencer
  12. "2 Cinnamon Street" - Roxette

Note: "2 Cinnamon Street" (sung by Marie Fredriksson) is an alternative version of "Cinnamon Street" sung by Per Gessle in Roxette's "Tourism" album.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Super Mario Bros.". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 13, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Super Mario Bros.". Allrovi. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Why the Super Mario Movie Sucked". Wired. 2012-04-23. 
  4. ^ a b c Reeves, Ben (2011-10-10). "Mario's Film Folly: The True Story Behind Hollywood's Biggest Gaming Blunder". Gameinformer. 
  5. ^ "Super Mario Bros: Scripts". Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  6. ^ Kohler, Chris (2009-06-17). "Harold Ramis Glad He Turned Down Mario Movie". Wired. 
  7. ^ "Mario: The Movie". The Times-News. January 11, 1991. p. 13. 
  8. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (October 23, 2012). "Schwarzenegger and Hanks Were Almost in Super Mario Bros.". IGN. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Super Mario Bros.". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Siskel & Ebert Review "Super Mario Bros."". YouTube. 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2011-12-16. 
  11. ^ "Siskel & Ebert At the Movies 1993-Worst of 93 pt 1". YouTube. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2011-12-16. 
  12. ^ Wilmington, Michael (May 29, 1993). "Movie Review: No Offense Nintendo: Super Mario Bros. Jump to Big Screen in Feeble Extravaganza". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  13. ^ Hinson, Hal (May 29, 1993). "Super Mario Bros.". Washington Post. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  14. ^ Maslin, Janet (May 29, 1993). "Movie Review - Super Mario Bros.". The New York Times. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  15. ^ "20 Years of Nintendo Power"
  16. ^ Hattenstone, Simon (August 3, 2007). "The Method? Living it out? Cobblers!". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  17. ^ Greenstreet, Rosanna (June 18, 2011). "Q&A: Bob Hoskins". The Guardian (London). Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  18. ^ http://www.armchairarcade.com/neo/node/1201
  19. ^ "Random Roles: Dennis Hopper". AV Club. December 12, 2008. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  20. ^ "MIYAMOTO: THE INTERVIEW". Edge Magazine. November 27, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Whatever Happened to the Metroid Movie?". IGN. December 28, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Rifftrax treatment of "Super Mario Bros." now available via Video-On-Demand at Rifftrax.com!". Legend FIlms & Rifftrax. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  23. ^ Greenberg, Adam. "Super Mario Brothers - Original Soundtrack". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  24. ^ Browne, David (1993-06-18). "Review of the Soundtracks for Sliver, Poetic Justice, What's Love Got To Do With It, Posse, Last Action Hero, Made in America and Super Mario Bros.". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  25. ^ liner notes to Roxette album, Don't Bore Us, Get to the Chorus!
  26. ^ Information taken from: www.roxservice.com, section: Boogleg.

External links[edit]