Welcome to the Mushroom Kingdom, a dimension where the laws of physics don’t apply and where mattresses fly you to safety from perilous heights! Mario Bros begins in the heart of Boston, this location made ominous by the feeling of what you know is to come coupled with the feeling of internal conflict as to whether or not Mario being a Bostonian is a good thing. I must explain first that my heart was in my throat at this stage. I have maneuvered the lovable plumber through thick and thin, through the depths of ‘The Lost Levels’ (unreleased in the US), through the perils of ‘Mario 2’, over the hurdles of the third and battled relentlessly to the end of Mario World and to the fabled ‘Secret Zone’ past the realm of Star Road. I am a glorified ‘Super Player’ with the collection of the coins and the re-skinned game to prove it. I have faced the tyrants of Mario 64 and met Yoshi above the castle! Mario has been an integral part of my life from the moment I laid hands on my first Nintendo Entertainment System controller at the age of two years old, playing that until I was bought the SNES where every day I would fill the halls of my house with the 8 bit mellifluous tunes. This franchise, understandably, means a lot. They are games I play even today.
Casting John Leguizamo as Luigi (despite sharing no resemblance and sporting no mustache with a near unbelievable age gap) was a risk. A risk which, personally, I believe paid off. Casting Bob Hoskins as Mario was a ballsy move. I did find at times it to be a little overwhelming with the inclusion of a very awkward dirty dancing scene with a balding middle aged man and a very large dominatrix, however all in all, it wasn’t that bad. More… entertaining? Yeh, lets go with that!
My brain was screaming at me telling me I should be hating this film to its very foundation… but I didn’t. I could bitch about the fact that Koopa’s are rendered useless by playing music, like a poorly timed homage to ‘Attack from Mars’ just with dancing as opposed to exploding heads. I could also complain about the flimsy narrative signifiers such as the fight with the crafty King Koopa who wielded a flamethrower while Mario poorly attempted to hit him with a bob-omb placed on the floor. A theoretically decent attempt rendered futile by its maximum speed being that of a pair of wind-up teeth (which I believe the bob-omb was crafted from).
Or I could even mention the end fight between Mario and Luigi VS the antagonist that was like The Desolation of Smaug all over again. It spent ages building up the anticipation of a good-ol Koopa swing in traditional mario 64 style when he finally got ‘de-evolved’ and crushed it by making the end fight last only a few brief moments… Just like Smaug. I also kind of found the appearance of Daisy’s father a tad… rude? I didn’t want to say it, but it does look conspicuous. Koopa might as well have said “Welcome to the castle. This is your fathers bow-sac.”
That is one incest porno I will not be typing into Google… maybe.
Regardless of all of this, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I was amazed by the props, especially the cars, Yoshi and found the Goombas entertaining. I was also thrilled by the appearence of bomombs, the boots, bullet bills and countless other mementos to the classic game. I also loved the quirky one-liners such as ‘It must be a union job’ in reaction to the poor plumbing in the Mushroom Kingdom. I mean, nowhere else are you going to find Bowser saying “Do you know what I love about mud? It’s clean and it’s dirty at the same time” with frequent innuendos and not so subtle licking. I see it like this: fan-fictions of Mario were always going to get made. Heck, they have been in there tyrants! This film provides a slightly higher standard of film than students could ever dream of making, it had some practical effects that took love and care to design, sculpt and form. It had recognizable, decent actors and was a full, feature-length production with the funding to make it bearable. Super Mario Bro’s The Movie was a fascinating, real(ish) take on my favorite game of all time, it provided an interesting take and for that I would recommend this film!
Final Grade: 8/10 IGN, MLG needs more Toad