Author: Eduardo Jardim ()
November 27, 2012
As far as the mainstream media is concerned, the union of the words "movie" and "Super Mario Bros." is synonymous with "fiasco." A fait accompli is that the film adaptation of the adventures of the Mario Bros. had to face a series of breathtaking obstacles, from changing the tone of the film (not to mention the shift in directors) to the constant rewrites — and consequent "dumbifying" — of the script. Yet, the feature film, although rated 3.8 out of 10 by over 25 thousand users of the IMDb, is clearly judged unfairly by most critics. Although it is slightly different from its source, we are talking about the first Hollywood adaptation of a video game franchise and one of the all-time most classic icons of the cyberpunk culture. In an attempt to prove that the Super Mario Bros. movie holds up much better than critics would have you believe, Reino do Cogumelo's team gathered five good reasons for you not to change the channel if you happen to catch the film on television, nor participate in petitions to bury copies of the DVD and VHS in a Mexican desert along with the Atari 2600 cartridges of ET: The Extra-Terrestrial...
5. The Structure of the Script
Despite reaching the point of being rewritten on an almost daily basis in certain periods of production, the final screenplay, which showed drastic changes when compared to its first version — a magical, Wizard of Oz-styled journey throughout the multicolored Mushroom Kingdom — wasn't completely bad. Abuse of creative freedom over something that should be the main basis of influence (not only an uncompromising inspirational source) for the whole work is overcome by the structure of the script, fully functional within its intended three acts. A collection of memorable dialogue, a handful of hilarious jokes and unforgettable catchphrases are some of the factors that make the film worthwhile.
4. A Pioneer in the Art of Adaptation
By giving us a much darker tone than seen in the mustachioed hero's games, Super Mario Bros. is not the best representation of a video game on the silver screen, but one thing is certain: it was the first one. The film's release in May 1993 ushered a chain reaction of almost periodic video game adaptations starting with Double Dragon (1994), Street Fighter (1994), Mortal Kombat (1995), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) and even Wing Commander (1999). The art of adaptation gained even more prominence with Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Resident Evil (2002). But even without the association to the games, the Super Mario Bros. movie became a cultural landmark that is able to fulfill its function to entertain and amuse.
3. Panoramic Scenery
The sets for Super Mario Bros. were all produced and finalized with a great amount of great care and physical labor, and yes--dedication to the fans. We 're not talking about a few, dimly customized alleys; it's all about panoramic landscapes full of references to Bullet Bills, Thwomps, Hammer Bros., Boom Booms, Wigglers and even Snifits through not-so-easily-spotted neon signs and characteristic movie extras. One might say that such attention to detail does not exist nowadays. Bob Hoskins and the impeccable constellation of the seventh art (see below) should be proud for having stepped in such a fantastic collection of practical scenery instead of struggling to imagine what the world of Dinohattan could be like while on a green screen.
2. A Stellar Cast
Although he didn't enjoy his experience on this film in retrospect, Bob Hoskins, star of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Dog Fight (2005) and Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), looked fantastic in the role of an Italian-American plumber and resident of Brooklyn. His chemistry with John Leguizamo — The Pest (1997), Where Hope Lives (2007), Ice Age Series (voice of Sid) — was actually fraternal. The beautiful object of chilhood fantasies — Samantha Mathis — American Psycho (2000), The Punisher (2004) — and the equally famouns and infamous Dennis Hopper — Apocalypse Now (1978), Blue Velvet (1986), Easy Rider (1969) — only add more and more talent to the strong cast of the Super Mario Bros. feature.
1. Yes, It 's a Respectful Tribute
In the early '90s, the odds of a hallucinatory world of carnivorous plants, Warp Pipes and Super Mushrooms to materialize into a 104-minute live-action film were very scarce. As it is a series of platform games with simple and straightforward gameplay, you could easily understand how to play without complicated strategy guides. The Super Mario Bros. movie obtained great sucess in extracting the most iconic and relevant elements and rearranging them in a clever, convincing way for the general public. In the end, we do in fact have two plumber brothers who need to save a kidnapped princess from Koopa's claws. The movie is far from a complete insult to the fans — Dragonball: Evolution, anyone? — and instead spins a parallel universe out of the franchise which, above all, amuses the viewer. With all these points in mind, the negative criticisms towards the movie shouldn't be as bad as everyone would have you believe. The problem is, you will only be able to see for yourself if you 're willing to trust the fungus.
Extracted from "Top 5: Motivos para gostar do filme Super Mario Bros. (1993)" (www.reinodocogumelo.com/2012/11/top-5-motivos-para-gostar-do-filme.html); Eduardo Jardim, Reino do Cogumelo. Brazil, November 2012.