Super Mario Bros. (film)

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Super Mario Bros.
Supermariobros.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written by
Based on Super Mario 
by Shigeru Miyamoto and
Takashi Tezuka
Starring
Narrated by Dan Castellaneta
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Dean Semler
Edited by Mark Goldblatt
Production
company
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc.
Release dates
  • May 28, 1993 (1993-05-28)
Running time
104 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $48 million[2]
Box office $20.9 million[2]

Super Mario Bros. is a 1993 American science fantasy adventure comedy film[3] directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel. A loose live-action adaptation of the 1985 Nintendo video game of the same name and its entire franchise, 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 eponymous Mario brothers, as they find a parallel universe, ruled by the ruthless dictator King Koopa, who seeks to merge the two dimensions together so that he can rule both worlds, leaving it up to Mario and Luigi to join forces with Princess Daisy, the daughter of the world's displaced King, to stop Koopa.

The film was released on May 28, 1993, in the United States by Hollywood Pictures, a film label of The Walt Disney Company. It was a box office bomb, grossing $20.9 million on a $48 million budget. The film was nominated for two Saturn Awards (one for Best Costume, the other for Best Make-up).

Despite being critically panned, it has become a cult film,[4] and has spawned a fan-made website,[5] a fan-made sequel comic,[6] and even a Blu-ray release in the United Kingdom.[7]

Plot[edit]

Sixty-five million years ago, a meteorite crashes into the Earth, killing the dinosaurs and causing the universe to split into two parallel dimensions. The surviving dinosaurs cross over into this new dimension and evolve into a humanoid race.

In the present, Mario and Luigi are two Italian American plumbers living in Brooklyn, New York, who are currently being driven out of business by the mafia-like Scapelli Construction Company led by Anthony Scapelli. Later, Luigi falls in love with an orphaned NYU student named Daisy, who is digging under the Brooklyn Bridge for dinosaur bones. After a date, Daisy takes Luigi back to the bridge only to witness one of Scapelli's men sabotaging it by leaving the water pipes open. Unable to fix the flooding, Luigi and Daisy rush back to his apartment where they inform Mario about the incident. The trio returns to the flooding where the Mario Bros. manage to fix it but are knocked unconscious by Iggy and Spike, who proceed to capture Daisy.

Moments later, Mario and Luigi awaken and head deeper into the caves following Daisy's screams and discover an interdimensional portal allowing the Mario Bros. to follow Daisy. It turns out that Iggy and Spike are henchmen (and cousins) of the other world's germophobic and obsessive–compulsive dictator, King Koopa, who descended from the most revered dinosaur, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Mario Bros. realize they didn't bring Daisy's rock, a meteorite fragment which Koopa is trying to get in order to merge his world with the real world. It is then revealed that Daisy is the long-lost Princess of the other dimension. When Koopa overthrew Daisy's father (and de-evolved him into fungus), her mother took her to Brooklyn using the inter-dimensional portal. The portal was then destroyed, killing Daisy's mother in the process, but Scapelli's men inadvertently reopened the portal when they blasted the cave. Upon hearing this, Koopa sends Spike and Iggy to find both Daisy and the rock to merge the dimensions and make him dictator of both worlds. However, after Koopa subjects them to one of his experiments to make them more intelligent, Spike and Iggy realize Koopa's evil intentions and side with the Mario Bros. Koopa believes only Daisy can merge the worlds, but the Mario Bros. are also from a different place and time. Eventually, the Mario Bros. rescue Daisy with the help of Toad, a good-natured guitarist who was punished by Koopa for performing music that protests his reign (for which he is de-evolved into a Goomba).

Eventually, the two worlds merge and Koopa turns Scapelli into a chimpanzee before going after Mario, but Luigi and Daisy bring back the rock and the worlds separate again. In Dinohattan, Mario confronts Koopa and eventually defeats him when he and Luigi fire their devolution guns at Koopa and blast him with a Bob-omb, throwing him into a chain suspended vat. Koopa, now turned into a ferocious, semi-humanoid Tyrannosaurus, jumps out of the vat, which is not far away from the Mario Bros., to deliver his final blow, but the Mario Bros. manage to destroy him once and for all by turning him further into an actual T-Rex, which is too intense for him to live through and instead turns him into primordial slime. Following Koopa's defeat, Daisy's father turns back to normal and reclaims control over the kingdom. The citizens celebrate and immediately destroy anything under Koopa's influence. Luigi admits his love for Daisy and wants her to come to Brooklyn with him, but Daisy can't come until the damage caused by Koopa is repaired and thus, she wants to spend more time with her father. Heartbroken, Luigi kisses Daisy goodbye as he and Mario return home to Brooklyn, with Daisy watching them leave. Three weeks later, the Mario Bros. are getting ready for dinner when their story comes on the news and the anchorman says they should be called the "Super Mario Bros." Daisy asks the Mario Bros. to help her and says, "You're never gonna believe this!"

In a post-credits scene, two Japanese business executives propose making a video game based on Iggy and Spike, who decide on the title The Super Koopa Cousins.

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.[8] Joffé left with a $2 million contract giving the temporary control of the character of Mario over to Joffé.[9]

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.[10]

Joffé visited Harold Ramis to offer him the job of being director. Ramis took up the meeting as he was a fan of the Super Mario Bros. game but declined the offer.[11] Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel were hired to direct based on their work on the television series Max Headroom.[9]

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.[12] 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.[13] Hanks was later dismissed and replaced with Bob Hoskins, who was believed to be a more profitable actor.[9]

Release[edit]

Critical reaction[edit]

As of November 15, 2015, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 15% of critics gave positive reviews based on 33 reviews, with an average rating of 3.7/10. 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."[14] 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,[15] and the film was on their list for one of the worst films of 1993.[16] Michael Wilmington of the Los Angeles Times disapproved of the film's script.[17] 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."[18] 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."[19]

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. 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.[20]

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.[21] In another interview with The Guardian, Hoskins 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?" His answer to all three was Super Mario Bros.[22]

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.[23] Despite this, Leguizamo has since stated that he has developed a somewhat more positive outlook of the film.

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."[24]

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."[25] Nintendo 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.[26]

Co-director Rocky Morton reflected on the movie in 2016 as a "harrowing" experience. He explained that he and Annabel Jenkel, along with the rest of the cast, agreed to make the movie based on the script originally written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, which focused on Mario and Luigi's complicated but loving family dynamic that they had developed in the absence of their parents. However, just a few weeks before shooting was to begin, the studio financing the film demanded significant rewrites to make the film more child-like and comedic. The final result, according to Morton, was a script that was not at all like the script that he, Jenkel, and the cast had signed on to film, and that the tone of the new script was not at all compatible with the sets, which had had already been built. Morton also reflected that he felt very uneasy being put in the position of having to defend the new script. In addition, working with Dennis Hopper was "really, really hard. Really hard. I don’t think [Dennis Hopper] had a clue what was going on." Despite describing the overall experience as humiliating,[27] Morton is proud of the film considering the chaos created as a result of the late and unexpected script rewrites.[28]

In 2013, Steven Applebaum and Ryan Hoss teamed with ten of the original film's writers to create a Webcomic sequel to the film, published to the internet the same year. The comic sees Mario and Luigi returning to Dinohattan with Daisy to tend to her revived father, only to find out that Wart is planning to overthrow the city.[4][29]

Home media[edit]

The film was first released on Blu-ray by independent distributor Second Sight Films in the United Kingdom on November 3, 2014.[30][31][32]

Soundtrack[edit]

Super Mario Bros.
Super-mario-bros-film-soundtrack.jpg
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
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[33]
Entertainment Weekly D[34]

The soundtrack, released on Capitol Records, featured two songs from Roxette: "Almost Unreal" which was released as a single, and "2 Cinnamon Street" which is an alternate version of the song "Cinnamon Street" from Roxette's album "Tourism". 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.[35][not in citation given]

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.

No. Title Writer(s) Performed by Length
1. "Almost Unreal"   Per Gessle Roxette 3:59
2. "Love Is the Drug" (Originally performed by Roxy Music) Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay Divinyls 4:35
3. "Walk the Dinosaur" (Originally performed by Was (Not Was)) Randy Jacobs, David Was, Don Was George Clinton & The Goombas 4:06
4. "I Would Stop the World"   Mick Leeson, Peter Vale Charles and Eddie 4:24
5. "I Want You"   Donnie Wahlberg Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch 6:11
6. "Where Are You Going?"     Extreme 4:34
7. "Speed of Light"   Joe Satriani Joe Satriani 5:10
8. "Breakpoint"   Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Nick Menza Megadeth 3:29
9. "Tie Your Mother Down"   Brian May Queen 3:46
10. "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)"   Herbie Hancock, Rahsaan Kelly, Mel Simpson, Geoff Wilkinson Us3 Featuring Rahsaan & Gerrard Prescencer 4:29
11. "Don't Slip Away [ * ]"   Tracie Spencer, Narada Michael Walden, Sylvester Jackson Tracie Spencer 5:19
12. "2 Cinnamon Street [ * ]"     Roxette 5:06

* These tracks were not included in the U.S. and Canada releases, only on the international versions of the album.[36]

Note: "2 Cinnamon Street" (sung by Marie Fredriksson) is an alternative version of "Cinnamon Street" sung by Per Gessle on Roxette's 1992 album "Tourism".[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SUPER MARIO BROS. (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. June 9, 1993. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Super Mario Bros.". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 13, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Super Mario Bros.". Allrovi. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b http://www.avclub.com/article/heres-the-emsuper-mario-bros-emmovie-sequel-someon-102169
  5. ^ http://smbmovie.com/
  6. ^ http://www.smbthecomic.com/
  7. ^ Super Mario Bros. Blu-ray, retrieved 2016-06-30 
  8. ^ "Why the Super Mario Movie Sucked". Wired. 2012-04-23. 
  9. ^ a b c Reeves, Ben (2011-10-10). "Mario's Film Folly: The True Story Behind Hollywood's Biggest Gaming Blunder". Gameinformer. 
  10. ^ "Super Mario Bros: Scripts". Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ Kohler, Chris (2009-06-17). "Harold Ramis Glad He Turned Down Mario Movie". Wired. 
  12. ^ "Mario: The Movie". The Times-News. January 11, 1991. p. 13. 
  13. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (October 23, 2012). "Schwarzenegger and Hanks Were Almost in Super Mario Bros.". IGN. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Super Mario Bros.". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved November 15, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Siskel & Ebert Review "Super Mario Bros."". YouTube. 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2011-12-16. 
  16. ^ "Siskel & Ebert At the Movies 1993-Worst of 93 pt 1". YouTube. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2011-12-16. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ Hinson, Hal (May 29, 1993). "Super Mario Bros.". Washington Post. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  19. ^ Maslin, Janet (May 29, 1993). "Movie Review - Super Mario Bros.". The New York Times. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  20. ^ "20 Years of Nintendo Power"
  21. ^ Hattenstone, Simon (August 3, 2007). "The Method? Living it out? Cobblers!". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  22. ^ Greenstreet, Rosanna (June 18, 2011). "Q&A: Bob Hoskins". The Guardian (London). Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  23. ^ http://www.armchairarcade.com/neo/node/1201
  24. ^ "Random Roles: Dennis Hopper". AV Club. December 12, 2008. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  25. ^ "MIYAMOTO: THE INTERVIEW". Edge Magazine. November 27, 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Whatever Happened to the Metroid Movie?". IGN. December 28, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  27. ^ Meli, Jowi. "Interview: Rocky Morton On The Chaos Of Directing The Super Mario Bros. Movie". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  28. ^ Palmer, Poppy-Jay. "SUPER MARIO BROS.’S ROCKY MORTON: ‘IT WAS A HARROWING EXPERIENCE’". SciFiNow. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  29. ^ http://www.firstshowing.net/2013/someone-made-a-comic-book-sequel-to-the-super-mario-bros-movie/
  30. ^ http://www.secondsightfilms.co.uk/film/super-mario-bros-blu-ray/
  31. ^ Webmaster (2014-09-04). "Super Mario Bros. Blu-ray Release Detailed". blu-ray.com. 
  32. ^ http://webcomicoverlook.com/2013/08/27/random-quickies-super-mario-bros-2-the-comic/
  33. ^ Greenberg, Adam. "Super Mario Brothers - Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  34. ^ 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. 
  35. ^ liner notes to Roxette album, Don't Bore Us, Get to the Chorus!
  36. ^ http://www.discogs.com/master/view/33101
  37. ^ Information taken from: www.roxservice.com, section: Boogleg.

External links[edit]