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The Cincinnati Post

Talent galore behind 'Mario' fantasy

Friday, May 28, 1993

By Paul Clark, Post staff reporter

Several movies have inspired video games, but "Super Mario Bros." reverses the process to test whether hyperactive Nintendo characters can flourish on a much wider screen.

It's a format where your video joy-stick can't affect the outcome. More likely than not, you won't want to change a blip in this high-spirited carnival ride.

Directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, creators of "Max Headroom," have again set loose their computer-graphics wizardry with the dizzying spin of an outer-space whirligig.

For assistance, they've plumbed a pipeful of big-screen talent.

Their team includes a pleasing cast of actors, starting with Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as the brothers, Mario Mario and Luigi Mario, roto-rooters to another realm.

Dennis Hopper plays the crafty reptile king; Samantha Mathis ("Pump Up the Volume") plays Daisy, the kidnapped princess.

Behind the cameras is an array of talent that includes Dean Semler, an Oscar winner for his cinematography on "Dances With Wolves." Art design was handled by David L. Snyder, an Oscar nominee for "Blade Runner."

Their experience glitters in the film's kaleidoscopic look. The crew's fancy gets full rein in bringing live action to a Nintendo maze of reptilian creeps, fireballs, intelligent fungi, magic jumping shoes and a machine that reverses evolution.

The task of designing a tale around the existing video-game characters went to former commercial writers Parker Bennett and Terry Runte. Specifically, they had to devise an explanation - one not provided by the Japanese creators of the Nintendo series - for how Mario and Luigi, plumbers by trade, came to be avenging heroes of a mythical world.

The only rules for that explanation, of course, were that it be as implausible as possible.

And the story? Well:

The two Brooklyn plumbers are sucked into another dimension where they battle the evil King Koopa and his zombie Goombas in an effort to rescue the princess, whose pendant can save dinosaur-descended humanoids from becoming extinct in a parallel world that got tucked away from the rest of the universe when a giant meteorite crashed millions of years ago and caused the . . .

Oh, forget it. You can enjoy this arcade of fun-loving fantasy without knowing a Goomba from a Koopa from a regular lollapalooza. Those who thrive on such distinctions will like it better still. SUPER MARIO BROS.,**** (out of 5). Hollywood Pictures. 1 hour, 44 minutes. PG for mild comic-book violence. Showcase Cinemas. $6.50, $3.75.

© Allied Filmmakers N.V. © 1993 Nintendo. All Rights Reserved.

Caption: John Leguizamo (left) and Bob Hoskins in "Super Mario Bros."

Memo: MOVIE / REVIEWEdition: MetroSection: LivingPage: 9C

Index Terms: movie


Reprinted with permission from the Cincinnati Library.



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