June 9th, 2008


Trust the Fungus

Today, for your reading pleasure, I present you with my review of the train wreck that is the Super Mario Bros. movie. I admit that I was actually interested in this film when it was first announced. I mean, everybody loved the games (not that I was ever any good at them, but that's neither here nor there), and I was quite fond of the cartoons. Even the live-action bits with Captain Lou Albano in a goofy red outfit hanging out with Magic Johnson and talking about nurses' shoes (a joke I can't say I ever got) had a certain cheesy appeal. But when everything I heard about the movie said that it was bad and had practically nothing to do with the game, I didn't bother seeing it. And now that I have, I can say that, well, it's bad, and has practically nothing to do with the game. First of all, why are two Italian plumbers played by British and Hispanic actors? I get the impression that Bob Hoskins spent the whole time trying to be Danny DeVito, and he was the better of the two. John Leguizamo gave me a greater appreciation for the guy who played Luigi on the Super Show (who I believe was actually French Canadian, but it wasn't so obvious). And aside from a Bob-omb and a brief glimpse of a Bullet Bill, pretty much everything else was related to the games in name only. Koopa was Dennis Hopper with spiky hair. Toad was a folk musician who was turned into a Goomba, which in turn was a brainless creature with a proportionally tiny reptilian head. Big Bertha, the fish from SMB3 who spits babies from her mouth, was a fat, sassy black lady at a nightclub. Yoshi was a cute little velociraptor (probably a nod to/rip-off of Jurassic Park, the big blockbuster movie of the time). I think the writers and character designers were given a list of characters from the games, with no pictures and brief (if any) descriptions, and told to make something out of it. And there was nary a floating block nor a turtle shell to be seen.

The thing is, if removed from the context of the games (a difficult thing to do, since it WAS billed as a movie based on video games), it was still bad. The basic plot (such as it was) involved a parallel universe where the dinosaurs survived. Yeah, really original, writers. While some actual dinosaurs still existed, most of them had evolved into people who hatched from eggs, had snake-like tongues, and ate living creatures. They insisted that they were reptiles, not mammals, even though they had hair and breasts. (Yeah, I know the Koopa family in the games also has hair, but this is the part of the review where I'm disregarding them, remember?) Shouldn't highly evolved dinosaurs be, like, birds or something? It's not that I'm not willing to suspend my disbelief, but if you decide to throw in something scientific like evolution, shouldn't someone on staff have at least a basic idea as to how it works?

I also had a Mario-related dream a few hours ago. I was watching a cartoon based on SMB2, which started with the opening story from the game. The four heroes were hanging around near the door to Subcon, and Luigi referred to its inhabitants as "pagans," which I thought was kind of bizarre. He was then kicked through the door by a Kickit, which is not a real Mario enemy, but sounds like it could be. Eventually, everyone but the Princess had gone through, and she presumably going to follow, but it didn't get that far. This was one of those dreams that I eventually realized was a dream, so I made a point of watching as much of the cartoon as I could before waking up, but I think that's as far as it got. It was certainly much better than the movie.