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Super Mario Bros. (1993)

A movie directed by Annabel Jankel, Dean Semler, Rocky Morton, and Roland Joffé

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"Sci fi action with ray guns and springshoes" If this was the title, it would have been better.

  • Jan 27, 2011
  • by
In the annals of "video game movies suck" this one film can still remain king for one reason.  It became the trend setter for all of them to follow as with all video game movies, it bears little resemblance to the game it's supposed to be based on.

In the movie we have a parallel world, dinosaurs that evolved into humans via technology, a noiresque city with jails and nightclubs, rocket shoes and more.  Wasn't the original Mario Bros game about you jumping on turtles and evil mushrooms and going into castles to rescue the princess?  They took the games basic premise, stretched it long and thin and left it resembling very little to what people knew and love.

The movie starts weirdly.  Theres an amusing if crappy cartoon of dinosaurs with narration telling us the setup, that the Meteor that hit the Earth and killed the dinosaurs created another reality where the dinosaurs merged into and evolved there.  The leader of the dinosaurs named Koopa perfected the process of evolution and de-evolution to use on his followers and wants a piece of the meteorite that hit Earth to merge our world with the Dinosaur's one.  Two New York plumbers, the Mario's stumble across the beautiful young woman who has the meteorite and try to help her as she is chased by Koopa's goons and end up getting pulled into Koopa's world where they do battle with the vile reptile.

Lets get to some good things first.  The movie has some great production.  From Koopa's lair, his "Dinohattan" to even the Mario's own apartment there are some great looking locales and sets here.  I did think Samantha Mathis was cute as Daisy and I liked Bob Hoskins as Mario, giving him the chance to use his Eddie Valiant voice again, but more on him in a second.

Now, the bad.  The biggest issue is the name.  Take "Super Mario Bros" off of this and I think people might have liked it better. 

Next is the casting.  Now I said I liked Bob Hoskins as Mario but even but having two Italian Plumbers played by an Englishman and a young Hispanic guy........there were NO starving young East Coast actors who wanted this role of Luigi?  Not even closer to Hoskins age?  Better yet don't hire Bob and get two cheaper guys who have some talent who could play the parts.  Seriously, almost anytime a description of what the Mario series is it will usually begin with "Two Italian plumbers from Brooklyn..."  Super Mario Bros predates GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra in the stupid casting dept.  Luigi doesn't even have a mustache!

Lastly are some of the aesthetics.  The character Toad is supposed to be a servant of the Princess, here cause they hired Mojo Nixon he's a portest song singer.  I can understand the flamethrower guns for the fireballs to take the place of the fireflowers but the rocket shoes?  The cyberpunk styled police cars?  Hell another point is with all the humans and some horrible ideas for the Goonba monsters, no turtles, beetles or spinys?  Weak.

Again I will restate that if you ignore the fact that they called this "Super Mario Bros" it's not that bad apart from silliness to appeal to the young kids along with some leering from Koopa to Daisy which is gross along with some other weirdness.  Video game movies always will have this as it's benchmark now as far as "worst since" whenever a new bad video game movie comes out, whether it's Mortal Kombat Annihilation or something Uwe Boll made, or at least so I'm told.  The term Super is stretching it with this movie but it's still more fun then Double Dragon III.
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January 28, 2011
You are bringing out some memories, John, this and the poll you made...I have to dust off my old VHS copy of this LOL! Thanks for the fun memories!
January 28, 2011
VHS? Why that instead of the nice vanilla DVD thats out there with NO special features? If I was more of a Harry Potter fan, I would have had more fun seeing the lady who plays the Aunt in this movie as Bowser's vampy sidekick.
January 27, 2011
So dumb it is fun, I remember this one man, I may have to watch this again. Great review.
January 28, 2011
I haven't seen it since I saw it in the theaters. I like it more now, probably because I'm not as tied to the games.
More Super Mario Bros. (1993 movie) reviews
review by . July 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
  Movies based off videogames, like anything else, are interesting conceptually, but at least 90% of the time, the execution of such things results in puke-inducing disaster. This movie is no exception, and in fact, is among the absolute worst out there. What's even weirder is that I first saw this movie on cable TV back around 1994 and despite being much younger and therefore much easier to please, I still found the movie to be a wretched experience because at that age, I couldn't …
Quick Tip by . January 26, 2011
Big budget film takes some real big liberties with the popular Nintendo franchize and has Mario and Luigi crossing into a parellel world to save a young woman from a disgusting ruler. Theres some charm here and there but it would have worked better if the Mario Bros name was left off of it due to it's major straying from he source material.
review by . January 20, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Some people say they loved this movie when they were a kid but they hate it the older they get and why is that? it's because this movie is for kids. When this film came out I was 5 and I saw it over 30 times when I was that age, now I'm 17 and in the past few years I've seen it 0 times. It's like some sort of peter pan thing because it's something about adults that blocks their imagination and makes them say classic KIDS movies like Super Mario Brothers is a horrible movie. There are things that …
About the reviewer
John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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About this movie


Buckle up and hang on tight -- the discovery of a parallel universe launches you into the adventure of a lifetime! Mario and Luigi, two wacky plumbers, undertake a daring quest to save a princess in "Dinohattan" -- a hidden world where the inhabitants evolved from dinosaurs! Mario (Bob Hoskins -- WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT) and Luigi (John Leguizamo -- REGARDING HENRY) face deadly challenges from a diaboloical lizard king (Dennis Hopper -- HOOSIERS) and must battle giant reptilian goombas, outwit misfit thugs, and undermine a sinister scheme to take over the world! Blast off for nonstop excitement with SUPER MARIO BROS., the live-action thrill ride that dazzled moviegoers everywhere!
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Genre: Action, Adventure
DVD Release Date: June 3, 2003
Runtime: 104 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Video
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"A classic"
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