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  Super Mario Bros Pooper Mario
Year: 1993
Director: Rocky Morton, Annabel Jankel
Stars: Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Samantha Mathis, Fisher Stevens, Richard Edson, Fiona Shaw, Dana Kaminski, Mojo Nixon, Gianni Russo, Francesca P. Roberts, Lance Henriksen, Frank Welker, Dan Castellaneta
Genre: Comedy, Action, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  2 (from 3 votes)
Review: Sixty-five million years ago the dinosaurs were wiped out by a falling meteorite, but what most people don't know is that the power of that explosion sent the creatures spinning out of these dimensions and into another one. Now, in present day Brooklyn, two plumbers called Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) are scraping a living until they happen to meet archaeologist Daisy (Samantha Mathis) on the street while she's trying to use the phone. She has uncovered a valuable site of fossils here in New York City - and that's not all...

Whoever thought it was a good idea to base movies on computer games started here, and their discovery that it was actually not a good idea has failed to inform producers and studios hoping to make their millions of profits on the same, only to see their hard-invested funds falter when it came to earning returns. If anything, Super Mario Bros wound up setting the template for these cinematic underachievers, with the all at sea star cast, the money pumped into the special effects budget, and the lack of attention paid to what make a good film and how it differed from what made a good game.

With regard to how they took the elements of the games and fashioned them into a plot here, there were few fans of Mario impressed with what the filmmakers had conjured up, as for a start the world of the games was a bright and colourful one, not the doomladen, gloomy and cliché futuristic dystopia of any number of eighties cheapo sci-fi flicks. This in spite of a lot of money being spent on the movie, which did show through in select parts such as the Goombas, towering dinosaur men with tiny lizard heads who participate in the sole decent item of whimsy in the whole production when they are prompted by Luigi to sway in time to a wistful tune as a distraction.

There was a lot going on in Super Mario Bros without much really happening, as if all involved were furiously treading water to try and make something halfway coherent out of what by all accounts sank early on and never recovered, not even in the editing room. The directors were Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, evidently hired because it was believed they could work the same magic in making computerised characters cool that they had done with Max Headroom in the previous decade, but here it seemed their sense of humour had deserted them as everything was far too earnest with what quips there were having all the lightness of touch of a sledgehammer.

Certainly none of the cast had anything good to say about the experience, with Hoskins claiming it was his worst film, and Dennis Hopper who played the main villain King Koopa doing himself no favours by essaying it all straight, without any spark to the character business he did get. He was the leader of the dinosaurs, except in a script obsessed with evolution he and his fellow lizards have developed into humans with bad hair, yet still find time to complain about mammals despite their looking just the same. Daisy is a lizard too, except she was abandoned as an egg in our world, and when she gets transported back to the baddies' realm Luigi, now smitten, and Mario, who must have been born twenty years before him, follow after, leading to many chases, empty action sequences and yelling. If only they'd gone all out to be goofy and sparkly instead of serious they might have been onto something; as it was, even the gags were laboured. Music by Alan Silvestri.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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