Mario Bits: The Thwomp Stomper



Author: Eduardo Jardim (Reino do Cogumelo)


July 27, 2011



When you talk about Super Mario, what comes to mind, primarily, are video games. But what many people forget — even knowing that some fans do it on purpose — is the Super Mario Bros. movie, launched in the summer of 1993. Target of a series of negative reviews, the film suffered from the lack of a sharper script and from the producers' indecision regarding its age group. For the fans, the movie gave the Mario series an exaggerated realism instead of exploring the fantasy world that everyone expected, which, in the process, caused a distortion of many facts that were already established in that particular fictional world — turning them into something interestingly unique. The Thwomp Stomper is a good example of that.


There is certainly plenty to talk about the movie, but the mechanical boots given to the Mario Brothers as a way to explain their superhuman leaps in a recently-created realistic world would stand out one time or another. Even indirectly, the boots remind us of a series of references to video games that are almost imperceptible to those who are not so close to the series — one of the factors that led to the downfall of the film in the arms of criticism. In the final version of the boots, the small cartridges used to propel the user into the air remind us of the infamous Bullet Bills, the missiles from the Mario series. However, it takes an extra imagination to relate them with the actual enemies from the game. The image you see on the left is a conceptual art that has not been fully applied to the film: there was still something more "Marioesque" that was needed in order to relate it with the Mushroom Universe; in short, it lacked details in red.


The boots are obviously based on Thwomps, the rock-like enemies which first appeared in Super Mario Bros. 3. By analysing some models of the initial design of the Thwomp Stompers, we notice that the contour of the boots shares a huge similarity to a Thwomp. Also, we can read the name of the enemy at the sole of the boot, written in stylized form. Mirrored, the name shows the initial purpose of the creative team behind this idea: to leave a "Thwomp" mark stamped across the tracks. The thought brings us to the next conceptual art:


Do you realize something else? Well, there is another detail hidden in the design of the boots. It's an original Thwomp, as we see him in Super Mario World! The above version is closest to the final product, except for the inner and outer colors, which are reversed. Added to this, the Thwomp Stompers may have been loosely based on Kuribo's Shoe — the Power-Up from Super Mario Bros. 3, known in Brazilian dubbing for the Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 as "seven-league boots". The weirdest thing ever is: why would a gadget like this to be in possession of a terrifying humanized version of Big Bertha?!


Copyright: Eduardo Jardim (Reino do Cogumelo) April 14th, 2011 — Nintendo Blast





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