I should probably start by apologising for this entry mainly because I’m attempting to comment on what’s famously known as the worst video game movie of all time. Except...it’s nowhere near as bad as I remember. Nintendo were world conquering back in the 80’s and early 90’s and I would be remiss if I didn’t give a nod to the fact that no one seems capable of touching them in the Wii era. So it seems only fitting that they would attempt to cross into other mediums with film being the most accessible of all. It certainly wasn’t the first time as previous to the Mario film something similar was attempted with The Wizard (more on this in a later blog entry).
With a cast ranging from Dennis Hopper (King Kooper), Bob Hoskins (Mario), Samantha Mathis (Princess Daisy) and John Leguizamo (Luigi) you could be forgiven for thinking that with such a star studded line up nothing could go wrong. But oh how it does. The plot is rather silly though being based on the Mario games viewers shouldn’t be surprised. Mario and Luigi are two out of luck plumbers, living in Brooklyn New York. No matter how hard they try every job they attempt to reach is completed by a major construction company each time. Then during one unfortunate visit beaten by the Scapelli Company once more the pair meets a young woman called Daisy, an archaeologist being rough housed out of a dig on a nearby Scapelli construction site. What then follows is a date between Daisy and Luigi which is interrupted when the pair goes to check the dig site only to find a few of Scapelli’s men flooding the excavated caverns beneath Brooklyn.
Mario shows up and using his trusty plumbing tools the brothers manage to save the day only to be knocked unconscious by two mysterious strangers called Iggy and Spike who kidnap Daisy. When the brothers awaken, they follow the screams of Daisy finding a dimensional door (sorry no green pipes here) leading to the world of dinosaurs led by Koopa. I want ruin any more of the story for those who haven’t seen it but from here on in things just become even crazier with Toad, Goomba’s more dinosaurs and a lot less sense.
It might shock a few of you to learn that I actually enjoyed this movie, yes it’s silly and the plot makes next to no sense but Hopper and Hoskins do good turns in the roles they are given. It’s pretty mindless and I found if I just let the experience wash over me it didn’t seem anywhere near as bad as people had said. The special effects might not be up to much but considering they had a low production budget they did an adequate job. The film isn’t light when it comes to game references with rocking Goomba’s, Yoshi, Bob-omb, Bullet Bills and even a Super Nintendo Scope repainted as a devolution gun.
Thinking back it’s hard to think just how a good Super Mario film could have been made as the source material is poor to say the least on original story, consisting of simply save the Princess. It’s no surprise that the film makers decided to create an entire world from scratch adding references only to the games and from what was finally released I can see them praying it would be a success. On one hand you have a dark world that the film tries to portray yet the other seems a constant nod to the fact that the whole thing is for kids and maybe if they had concentrated more on the film’s focus it could have turned out a lot differently. Sadly it was a total flop at the box office not even managing to make back its production costs meaning any plans of a sequel were scuppered. Though reading back on a few interviews with the main actors all of them seemed to dislike making the film so perhaps they would have all refused to come back which means we will never know.
On a final note...I liked the final credit’s song. I’ll leave it at that, make of it what you will.