Movie Defense Force: Super Mario Bros.

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Super Mario Bros.

To the Devo Chamber!

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Sorry, Jim, this one didn't work. It's just a bad, bad movie. It's a bad adaptation. It's a poor script. It's poorly directed. The production of the movie was a legendary mess.

I saw this trainwreck in the movie theaters originally. If I'm going for a nostalgic, not-very-good mario-centric movie, I'd MUCH rather watch The Wizard.

Have to agree with schmulki on this one, I don't remember all those iconic scenes fondly, whenever something does spark that memory of old back into my mind I usually sigh and wish the movie had never been made. The same scenes you hold up as being good are what I use to point out how utterly inane this film was. Basically only memorable in that they were so bad I couldn't hope to forget as much as I tried.

Um, no, the actors did not throw themselves in with gusto. They weren't even trying. They've admitted as much because the production was so bad and the directors were such assholes. Hoskins outright said in an interview that he and Leguizamo came in drunk to more than 90% of the scenes they shot because it was the only way they could deal with the shit they were getting from the directors. And Dennis Hopper's own words on the subject were something like "I just did whatever because I knew nothing mattered. I couldn't make it any better or worse no matter how I tried." That's a paraphrase more than a direct quote, but that's basically what he said.

The bob-omb was probably one of the most brilliant examples of complete absurdist humor, though. Everything about how that was executed was hilarious, right down to its blatantly product placing Rebock shoes. I loved that thing. I don't care if it was their intention for it to be great for that reason, but I'll take it.

Certainly a weird and very memorable movie. Can't say the same for most movies that actually do their source materials any real service and it's not like Mario's universe was really all that established at that point.

I love this movie. The trailer scared the hell out of me as a young man, but the wackiness of it all was just too much fun for me to say it was a bad film. In terms of storylines, the Mario Bros. series has about as much depth as a typical street fighting series, but the movie followed it faithfully even though it didn't "look" like a Mario Game. It had unique gadgets and a strange industrialized world that other game adaptations like Double Dragon tried and failed to mimic.

And being a teen at the time, I have to admit that Francesca Roberts as Big Bertha gave me an... appreciation for certain aspects of the opposite sex.

I enjoyed the movie, if only because of how fascinatingly wrong it is.

At around 1:57 you said "game" instead of "movie".

Errors aside, I have wondered if this movie would've been received better if they called it anything else...

I always remembered liking the movie so was confused when people said it was terrible. I hadn't seen it since I was about 8 though. May have to dig out the old VHS.

Full points for trying, Jim.

I will say that I remember watching it on video and we actually got through the thing from beginning to end (something my family could not say of, say, "Howard the Duck".) I was amused by the Bob-omb, and it certainly cast actors of a grade well above that of the material itself.

...The fact that several of those actors frankly admit to getting roaring drunk during shooting to escape the pain of it all really says something, though.

It has just enough actual Mario Bros. to make the viewer wince, because the inclusions make little to no sense, and seem ridiculous and out of place amidst any tenuous attempts to create something that's feasible even in the more permissive realms of science-fiction and fantasy.

...And they left it open-ended in case they got to make a sequel; that took a remarkable amount of delusion.

Dear God Jim! What have you done?!?!?!

I can understand the "so bad it's endearing, if not good" mentality. I can even allow the "it's a 90's flick" defense. But this movie was just plain bad. Apparently, filming was a nightmare for the actors as well.

Lightknight:
Certainly a weird and very memorable movie. Can't say the same for most movies that actually do their source materials any real service and it's not like Mario's universe was really all that established at that point.

I have to agree. There wasn't much lore in the games in 1993. There wasn't that much material for them to go by other than 'Plumber saves princes from giant turtle'

How on earth do you translate a 2d side-scroller into a full length feature film? It's amazing what they managed to come up with and the nods to the game they managed, showed that they actually played it.

I loved this when I saw it as a kid and I still love it now. As Jim said, it's not a great film, but it is still a lot of fun.

I remember watching this in the theatre and I also remember not liking it.

I tried again years later to see if maybe my childhood memories were too harsh on it, and I can go into it with an open mind.

Nope, still didn't like it, and while there are a few scenes that are fun and silly, the story was shit.

RJ Dalton:
Um, no, the actors did not throw themselves in with gusto. They weren't even trying. They've admitted as much because the production was so bad and the directors were such assholes. Hoskins outright said in an interview that he and Leguizamo came in drunk to more than 90% of the scenes they shot because it was the only way they could deal with the shit they were getting from the directors. And Dennis Hopper's own words on the subject were something like "I just did whatever because I knew nothing mattered. I couldn't make it any better or worse no matter how I tried." That's a paraphrase more than a direct quote, but that's basically what he said.

The bob-omb was probably one of the most brilliant examples of complete absurdist humor, though. Everything about how that was executed was hilarious, right down to its blatantly product placing Rebock shoes. I loved that thing. I don't care if it was their intention for it to be great for that reason, but I'll take it.

I remember reading something about that as well.

If memory serves, there was some producing problems as well, and it got so bad that the drama leaked onto the set. It was a bloody miracle that they even finished the movie really considering all the shit that happened before, during, and after the filming.

You know, Jim, you should do a Movie Defense Force of Speed Racer, my favorite film of at least the past 10 years. Not merely because it's entertaining, but because unlike every single movie you've done here, there's absolutely zero sarcasm or cynicism, in terms of adaptation or just being a regular old film. In fact, Speed Racer is literally the ONLY time I've seen an Amalgamation pulled off not only flawlessly, but with sheer verve, energy, drive, and gusto, even going so far as to turn a silly little anime into a transcendent work of art, even going so far as to make Rex Racer symbolic of Lana Wachowski's personal struggles with trans-genderism and being unable to appear in public for a long while after her sex-change. I've read all the negative reviews, and I'm convinced that they were written long before the critics actually saw the movie, thinking that there was no WAY a movie based on a stupid T.V. show could be any good, and when the movie made them cry, they felt insulted and insecure, so they published the movie as is. And many people have been staying away ever since.

Yeah...can't really come with you on this one. It's not a great movie. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the movie thoroughly, but BECAUSE it's a crap fest.

The only thing that, in looking back on it, is quite awesome is that the political musician who gets de-evolved is played by Mojo Nixon (who is a real-life musician who often tackled social and political issues). I didn't know who he was as a kid, but since then I've gotten into underground music as an adult (like punk and psychobilly) and now I can appreciate that cameo as pure genius.

I saw this when I was little and had nightmares about the goombas. That aside, I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the movie mostly because it was so content to go off and do its own thing.

Ignoring the movie franchise, I always thought it was a fun piece of absurdist humor. It didn't hurt that the toy cars from the movie had to be recalled because the sparking gimmick started fires.

My young childhood self saw a creepy, crazy woman STAB YOSHI WITH A KNIFE.

Go back to the games after that, kiddies.

I love the theory of evolution viewed through the lens of this movie: people in the parallel dimension evolved from dinosaurs instead of primates, but they still look exactly like us. lol

Also, I always liked the scene where they argue with the cop about their names - a bit of cheeky "who's on first" classical comedy. The idea that Mario is their last name made sense to me, too, since they are the "Mario Bothers". None of my siblings use my name as a title. It was a strange, creative, and funny way to dig themselves out of a nonsensical hole that Nintendo dug for them...

...which, on reflection, might be a microcosm for the whole film.

The first time I saw this i didnt get the beginning, so I didnt know right away that it was supposed to be a mario bros movie... I felt like i was taking a trip into a weird bizarro-verse
You cant look away from movies like that. They are so bad and so good at the same time.

just look at some of the stuff that tries to be good these days. mario bros is good without even trying.

On the one hand, it's a great depiction of the sort of thing people think Nintendo should be doing; taking these well-worn franchises in different directions, trying to do different things with them rather than just recycling the same old tropes over and over again.

On the other hand, it's also the perfect depiction of why Nintendo aren't doing that.

I saw this movie years before I learnt that Mario is actually a game character and those Mario games are actually nothing like the movie. I loved and still love the movie - goombas especially, but Big Bertha and other moments too numerous to list. And for me Mario Brothers and world from this movie is THE Mario Brothers and the proper world ("Who is that 'Peach' person?" was my first reaction when I saw first my Mario game "And why she isn't kicking ass as the real princess should?").
Faithfulness of adaptation was never a problem for me because I like characters from the movie much more than characters from games. And I thought the movie by itself was very good. And I still do think the movie was very good.

The Goombas - aside from the fact I loved this film as a kid (it's just so, so absurd and I loved it for that) - they totally make the film. They are so absolutely weird and terrifying with the tiny heads and creepy toothy mouths as to be completely unforgettable.

Oh, and Dennis Hopper. I'm sure he plays exactly the same bad guy in every film and I lap it up anyway.

CAPTCHA: you win

I have a soft spot in my heart for this movie, myself. Yeah, it's bad, but child me didn't know that, and while it didn't feel much like mario, it had mario's name on the cover, and I was all over it.

That said, I don't think I'd have the heart to recommend it to children. When I went to the theater for the premiere of "The Lego Movie", I overheard some of the kids in the row behind me talking about how much it sucks that there had never been a Mario movie. Once I recovered from the "Jesus Christ I'm an old man..." feelings that such a statement evoked in me, I realized that it would probably be kinder to let them continue to be disappointed that no such movie existed, rather than inform them about this one. ^^

Sorry there's no force on the planet that can defend this film Jim...not even you. It's not a good movie on it's own merits. It's not a good translation of the source material , as has nothing do with the games. I get there's not a lot of meat to Mario bros story, but this was crazy bad stuff loosely ripped from the dino world of Super Mario world. It fails all around.

So many aspects of this story were just incomprehensible.Game Informer did a huge article bringing up all the dirt on it. All back story of the film was an epic train wreck, and more interesting than the movie itself was. It had daily rewrites, and so many issues.

People might enjoy the movie...but there's nothing truly good about it. Bob Hopkins said the biggest regret in his life was this movie. Actors usually try to defense their work or claim they did the best with what they had...there's nothing to defend here.

I've always like the Mario Bros movie. I can understand why people hate it, but I just don't buy into that myself.
And Jim isn't the only one. Some guys have actually started a fan comic for the movie.
http://smbthecomic.com/
No seriously, this is something that's happening. How many GOOD movies have that dedicated a fanbase? I thought not.

Yeah I only saw this movie once, but I don't recall it being all that bad. It was ridiculous to be sure and not at all faithful to the source material, but it wasn't bad.

Really Offensive Name:
How on earth do you translate a 2d side-scroller into a full length feature film? It's amazing what they managed to come up with and the nods to the game they managed, showed that they actually played it.

2 animated series were made out of it so I imagine they could've done a better job than this.

Fiz_The_Toaster:

If memory serves, there was some producing problems as well, and it got so bad that the drama leaked onto the set. It was a bloody miracle that they even finished the movie really considering all the shit that happened before, during, and after the filming.

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2013/05/28/mario-s-film-folly-the-true-story-behind-hollywood-s-biggest-gaming-blunder.aspx?PostPageIndex=3

This is a Game Informer article that you might have read. I read it too, and it was very entertaining to read. I believe when I wrote something on the film, either a review from Marter or the 20 Anniversary Post a year or two ago (some something like that), I wrote that I would give anything to read a book about this movie's production more than the movie, but I do like it.

OT: It's a terrible film, but I do enjoy it. Compared to Double Dragon, it's high art. I loved Super Mario Bros, and I consider it a guilty pleasure, but an enjoyable one, and I don't agree with all of Jim's Points, but we can both agree that the movie was worth defending, and I love it... kind of.

RJ Dalton:
Um, no, the actors did not throw themselves in with gusto. They weren't even trying. They've admitted as much because the production was so bad and the directors were such assholes. Hoskins outright said in an interview that he and Leguizamo came in drunk to more than 90% of the scenes they shot because it was the only way they could deal with the shit they were getting from the directors. And Dennis Hopper's own words on the subject were something like "I just did whatever because I knew nothing mattered. I couldn't make it any better or worse no matter how I tried." That's a paraphrase more than a direct quote, but that's basically what he said.

The bob-omb was probably one of the most brilliant examples of complete absurdist humor, though. Everything about how that was executed was hilarious, right down to its blatantly product placing Rebock shoes. I loved that thing. I don't care if it was their intention for it to be great for that reason, but I'll take it.

Now that I know they were tanked through most of the movie I kinda want to watch it again. I mean with that context it makes so much more sense looking back. But still maybe that's where jim gets the throwing themselves in with gusto feel. They were so demoralized and inebriated they just kind of did whatever. They weren't trying to be good but they were having fun with it in a masochistic kind of way.

one of the best awful movies ever.

I always wanted that cliffhanger to lead into a second movie where Bob played both Mario and the villain could have been Bobplaying Wario :D

I love the hell out of the Mario Bros. movie, and found it on DVD when I worked in a movie store once, and apparently that made m day, because it stuck with one of the keyholders all the way until close that night that I was just so damn giddy about finding a copy.

I like being the minority with this and Silent Hill.

I loooooved this film, even as a kid I understood how fucking different it was, but I kinda liked it for it's bizarreness, especially after watching a shitton of 80's sci-fi films.

Also, this:

I am not afraid to say that I also love this film. Super Mario 64 is my favourite platformer of all time but that did not stop me from loving this film.

I will give you partial points for this review, Jim. If you're able to ignore the total desecration of the Super Mario Bros cannon and get yourself into the right chemically enhanced state of mind, you could enjoy this one.

Having said that, Super Mario Bros truly deserves a much better movie adaptation than what it got in the 90s. With movies like The Avengers and The Lego Movie, there is no fucking excuse for inferior film making in terms of popular properties. There are talented and dedicated people who would give vital parts of their anatomy to make a faithful version of Super Mario Bros a reality. We're tired of the soulless cash grabs being made by people who are just there for a paycheck. That is a practice that needs to die like yesterday.

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