Media> Reception> Effects don't impress as video game plays to big screen


St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Thursday, June 3, 1993 by Joe Holleman

HOW ODD THAT one of this movie's main themes is devolution - evolution in the other direction, from advanced back to simple.

And how much more devolved can movie making get than basing a film on a video game.

It seems like just a few years and a couple of I.Q. points ago movie ideas came from plays, novels and short stories. Or at the very least, things without joysticks.

But not anymore.

"Super Mario Brothers," starring Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper, is about two plumbers from Brooklyn who accidentally fall into a parallel dimension, one that is close to human but evolved from dinosaurs. So everything is just a bit reptilian.

The plumbers (Hoskins and John Leguizamo) must dash the dictatorial hopes of Koopa (Hopper), a really slimy bad guy who wants to enter the human dimension and subdue it.

Adults should not understand this at all. Rest assured that it is perfectly understood by pre-teens with Nintendo.

Let's hit the good points first. Hoskins and Leguizamo are somewhat endearing as the brothers, and Hopper has a few great moments as the evil dude.

Now to the other side of the ledger.

The direction and screenwriting captured the essence of a video game, unfortunately. The characters were two-dimensional, and the transitions were chopped and abrupt, as if we need to deposit another quarter to continue watching.

And since this movie is geared to the allowance-spending youth of grade school age, the PG is inappropriate. While the whole ratings game is confused and often silly, this film had a bit too much cleavage and way too much carnage for the very young.

The final failure is that this movie tries to impress the audience with special effects.

I've seen projectile pea soup and rotating heads. I've seen a guy's lunch explode from his stomach and terrorize a spaceship. Blade runners and top gunners, lasers and phasers, the Empire attack and the Jedi come back.

If I am going to forget a movie's flaws because of dazzling special effects, someone will have to invent a way for Michelle Pfeiffer to come off the screen and split a box of Sno-Caps with me.

(Chesterfield, Crestwood, Galleria, Halls Ferry, Keller, Mid Rivers, Northwest Square, St. Charles, Union Station.)




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