SECOND LOOK: Super Mario Bros.

Released in 1993, starring a bewildered looking Bob Hoskins as hero/plumber Mario and John Leguizamo as his brother Luigi, Super Mario Bros. became synonymous with bad game adaptions, paving the way for films such as Street Fighter, 1994 and Alone in the Dark, 2005.

An adaption of the popular Nintendo gaming series, the film upon its release, became a critical and box office flop. Its directors Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton to this day haven’t directed another feature length film. Its actor’s still regularly trash the film at any chance they are given (Hoskins once declared that the film was “the worst thing I ever did”).

The story involves our heroes stumbling across a hidden city, buried deep underground known as Koopa City with King Koopa, played by the great Dennis Hopper ruling the land. They are there to rescue Daisy a young woman that had been kidnapped and taken to Koopa City.

The film, at its core, is a mix of a weak storyline and odd characters that had little or nothing to do with the game series. Changing the bright tone of the game into a dark and gritty post-apocalyptic landscape didn’t work either. Actors Hoskins and Leguizamo looked uncomfortable throughout the film. The usually reliable Hopper was on form as usual though. This was during the decade where he made films such as Waterworld and Space Truckers, so he was used to hamming up his performances.

The film has been dissected by many since its release 22 years ago, many considering it to be one of the worst and most bizarre films ever released, but is it really that bad?

Are there any saving graces? Despite the odd storyline, it is still pretty fun to watch (nostalgia filled eyes make it easier to watch). It was definitely a blast to watch as a kid growing up in the 90s.

The writers tried to make something out of a story which shouldn’t have been adapted into a feature length film in the first place. Despite differing greatly to the game series, there is enough going for this movie to be enough to pick up and watch at least once.

Some of the practical effects are fun to look at. Despite looking nothing like the characters from the gaming series, the makeup was something to be marvelled at. This film was released the same year as Jurassic Park, instead of jaw dropping effects we get some shoddy looking puppets. Sure it has aged over the last two decades, but that adds to the fun of the film.

Super Mario Bros. for all its problems is still far more entertaining and worthwhile of your time than other game adaptions such as the dreaded Alone in the Dark and the later Resident Evil films. Something about the film makes me revisit it every couple of years. I have a soft spot for it despite my better judgement. The movie is worth watching at least once to see what all the fuss is about.

Have you watched Super Mario Bros.? Is it one of the worst game adaptions of all time? Or a misjudged gem? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Josh Sammons