Review: Super Mario Bros. (1993)

The Super Mario Bros. come to life in this game adaptation. The film stars Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as they rescue a princess

Super Mario Bros. had a lot to live up to upon its release in 1993. Not only was it the first video game to get the cinema treatment, it also had to meet the expectations of millions of fans across the world.

Due to the overwhelming pressure producers were under, the film sometimes feels as though it’s not quite sure what it should be; a movie that explores the darker side of the Mario Bros. Franchise or one that revels in its game element. Although it unfortunately never fully embraces the potentials open to it Super Mario Bros.. is still a light-hearted family film.

For those of you unaccustomed to the concept, Mario and Luigi are plumbers who, in the games, go on quests that take them through fantastical worlds where they endure moments of extreme peril and jeopardy. The film follows a similar route while filling in some gaps left in regards to the personal history of the brothers by the game. Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) happen across archaeologist Daisy (Samantha Mathis) who just happens to be a princess from an alternate world hidden in the depths of the underbelly of New York. When she is kidnapped by servants of the oppressive King Koopa (Dennis Hopper) they set out on a rescue mission that will lead them into the paths of dinosaur descendants and a fungus-enthralled city where nothing is quite how it was in the world they have left behind.

The film is both entertaining and easy to follow. Some may scoff at its simplistic storyline but those who do may forget the target audience of the game franchise. During production the script underwent numerous alterations which led to Hoskins and Leguizamo losing faith in the film and rumours abound that the two took to alcohol to try and make it through the production of the film. Others claim that Dennis Hopper’s portrayal of King Koopa is poor and led to a decline in his career but these people may be the very people who have criticised the film for its content.

Although purists and affiliates of Nintendo may have dismissed the film as it fails to adhere to their expectations the film is cheerful lively. The victims of King Koopa’s de-evolution machine are likeable and although Yoshi may not be what many had in mind, adds another character whose plight you care for.

If you’re a die hard Super Mario Bros. fan be sure to approach the film with the light-hearted view it was made for otherwise you may be disappointed; those looking for a fun film be sure to check this out.

Best bit: The devolution process.

Best line: Goomba!

Did you know that when Hoskins signed up for the film he was unaware of the Super Mario Bros. game franchise. This continued until his son told him of its popularity.

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