Super Mario Brothers The Movie
October 11, 2003
Last time I reviewed the oscar contending epic, "The House of The Dead". So I might as well trail forward with more blockbusting videogame movies. Onward down the seven seas mateys! AARRRR! We are goin' a revewin' the delightful "Super Mario Bros. The Movie".
You know what, in all honesty I defend this movie. It is pretty damn fun with some kick-ass action, great cast, cool soundtrack and goofy plot. Tons o' fun! On the flip side, it isn't a very good... Mario Movie. Complicated issue, eh? Well it is and in this mess what I call "review". We'll dwelve deep into the charming blockbuster dud.
In 1980, a character named Jumpman was trying to save his babe from a stupid monkey. In 1981, Jumpman was given a name and became the villian in the super sequel "Donkey Kong Jr." or stupid monkey junior. Mario became a superstar when he bounced from his 3rd game Mario Bros. into his 4th, the launch of the blockbuster series "Super Mario Bros.". Well the rest is history, Mario and his brother Luigi have become some of the most loved characters in videogame history.
We now jump forward to the early 1990's while Roland Joffe was directing his recent picture "City of Joy". While on the shoot, his son traveled with him across the world and guess what his kid was up too? Playin' Nintendo. In particular, playin' the Super Mario games. Roland is rather curious about this videogame duo and so is in contact with his buddy Jake Eberts, whose production company Allied Filmmakers responsible for "Hope and Glory", "Driving Miss Daisy" and "Dances With Wolves" hunt down and succeed in capturing the rights for a Super Mario Bros. Film. Next, the dynamic duo snag screenwriter Barry Morrow of "Rain Man" fame who comes up with the first draft of the screenplay and "Max Headroom" gods Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel are asigned to direct the picture.
So we got all this talent and damn, its good. This is a hell of a great start! So what the FUCK went wrong with this flick? I mean the directors are virtualy responsible for one of the best friggin' television series on the planet. "Max Headroom" was the first and sucessful visualization of William Gibson's futuristic CYBERSPACE worlds and cultures. Damn, they are good. Let's dwelve deeper into the production and see what we unravel.
With a script almost in final form written by Parker Bennett, Terry Runte, and Ed Solomon, our band of filmmaking brothers gather the perfect cast for our live action-adventure flick. I just have too start naming off this cast just in bits and does it ever make you drool... Are you ready? Bob Hoskins as Mario... Holy Shit! John Leguizamo as Luigi... Goddamn! That is perfect casting! Look... I am serious here, there are no other two people on the entire friggin' planet who could play the blockbustin' duo better than them. End of story. Period. I mean just the chemestry and fun these guys are having on screen is phenominal. You believe they are brothers and you do believe they are THE SUPER MARIO BROTHERS! Damn and I haven't even finished the cast yet!
Princess Daisy is played by the beautiful Samantha Mathis. Damn... She is so friggin' hot! She is such a sweetie and her and Leguizamo have some awfuly cute, romantic scenes together. Perfect! Don't worry, Mario's got a gal too played by the darlin' Dana Kaminski. There's a nice little romantic supper scene the four share at an Italian restraunt at the begining of the flick that is so bursting with energy and chemestry, damn its great! Lots of funny moments with all of these characters.
King Koopa is appropriatly played by the "we love it when he plays a great baddie" Dennis Hopper. His helpful cousins in arms Spike and Iggy are played by Richard Edson and Fisher Stevens.
So once again we ask, WHAT THE FUCK WENT WRONG WITH THIS FLICK? Well the first and most realistic... Timing of technology. The early 1990's was the dawning of the digital effects revolution. Today a couple of kids with Photoshop and After Effects knowledge can make effects that could run circles around the wizardy even on the Super Mario Bros. Movie. Mind you, the effects that are in the flick are pretty impressive. It's just today you could throw Hoskins and Leguizamo in a hyper cartoon world fully realized just like the colourful cartoon delight of the videogame series. Imagine, King Koopa as a huge CGI cartoony, monstrous creation just like the videgames voiced by Dennis Hopper. Damn that would be cool! Now that would have been a Super Mario. Bros. Movie! Got to admit, the one effect they got right was Yoshi. Damn, he was so cute.
The second fault that slaps the movie to reality is the screenplay. It works in moments. Great scenes pieced together to try to form a coherent plot that just well, sucks. But damn it, that cast is perfect and they play along with such conviction you just ignore the plot and focus on them. The movie's not a total dud, infact it's actualy pretty good. It came out the same year as the zero plot Jurrasic Park. Atleast the Mario crew were trying to tell a story, not sell a goddamn tourist attraction. I love Jurrasic Park for what it is, but one thing it dosen't have are great characters. JP's characters are the one dimmensional, cliche, A,B,C usual meat and potato characters when screenwriters get lazy. But who gives a shit about great characters right? Zillion dollar effects shots and insane action sequences sell movies and that's what sold JP. The same is true today were you have shit like Charlies Angels tarnishing the screen with its EXTREME ACTION and EXTREME ATTITUDE! Whoops... I spelt EXTREME wrong. let me correct myself... XTREME ACTION and XTREME ATTITUDE! There, that's much better for today's audience.
I'm surprised there hasn't been a Japanese anime or North American big ass CGI movie for the superstar duo.