Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Super Mario Bros. (1993)

This is gonna be hard to rate.

I almost don't know what to say about this movie considering it's been talked about enough since the movie came out and even more so when internet critics became popular, so all it comes down to is my opinion. Now the idea of a Mario movie doesn't sound difficult even despite the sheer lack of story in the games at that point and quite frankly beyond, so I genuinely do appreciate what they did and what they were trying to do. Seeing Mario and Luigi as plumbers from Brooklyn works really well, and they feel real enough so that when the weird shit happens they don't just immediately roll with it and have a solid course of action. True the whole parallel dimension thing is a bit odd but how would they have introduced all the fantastical stuff? That's kinda the problem with this movie, it's really not a clean cut good/bad kind of film, it's a mixed bag of good stuff, perplexing stuff, and interesting stuff. I feel it almost has to be a split rating, what do you think of it as a movie and what do you think of it as an adaptation of a game? So let's dig in a bit. The story or more the set up for the story is hit and miss, with the Mario brothers going about their normal business when they meet a young girl named Daisy with a mysterious origin and not long after that she gets kidnapped so they go after her. And then it gets weird, falling through a dimensional fissure they emerge in the city of Dinohattan where all residents naturally evolved from reptiles instead of apes led by the tyrannical Koopa who has plans to invade our dimension to further his kingdom so the boys gotta get back Daisy, thwart Koopa, and somehow get back home. Not a horrible story on paper, and the logistics and worldbuilding they do may be considered too realistic but I feel it helps the movie's style and tone. Dinohattan is a mish mash of Blade Runner, Mad Max, with an unhealthy overdose of fungus and the script thinking of what if there was a world with reptiles but no mammals. So they did put effort into crafting this world and thinking it out. There's no fossil fuels so everything including the cars are electric, there's no furs or much cloth for clothing so it's mostly leather, the denizens move more like dinosaurs and aren't completely evolved to look like homosapiens. All those neat touches add to the score and it's genuinely a world I would want to see evolve through more movies. The characters are defined well enough with good acting and decent chemistry I found with some offbeat things about it but nothing bad. The effects are really really good actually, again going back to a time where CGI was used only when necessary so the vehicles, props, Goombas, Yoshi, and stunts were legit! You cannot prove to me otherwise that Yoshi is real and alive, it's right there breathing and moving in front of your eyes! The music's okay but it's got some good tracks that I enjoy. With so many good points you'd think why exactly do people hate this movie yet I know the friggin' answer. The production was a nightmare and I can pin this down to two sources, the directors and the studio. The studio wanted something more kid friendly and colorful while the directors who were a married couple wanted to give it some edge and not just make a kids movie. Not horrible intentions of course, but how the actual production went, in particular the shooting, made the project into a shit show. Constant daily rewrites, the directors not communicating the schedule and what they had to get shot, rushed in editing, and emotions ran high. It really sucked reading that Bob and John were utterly miserable on the set to where they had to drink heavily just to make it through, cause I do like their performances and the energy they bring when working in tandem together. They genuinely are decent in the lead roles, I like the romances they have with Daniella and Daisy respectively, that's not a bad element to the story. Dennis Hopper as Koopa, weird ass choice but he accepted, and unfortunately doesn't get to go batshit but I can't truthfully say he sucked in this either. Of course you got your little references and easter eggs and those are cool, I totally want a wind up Bob-Omb! And you know maybe, just maybe, I'm being nice because I was a fan of this movie when I was young but I also haven't watched it in about 15 years and I'm just calling it as I see it. Regardless of what you think about the quality of it, it's a fascinating little movie. The fact that whatever momentum it had going for it was completely nuked by the release of Jurassic Park just 2 weeks later in and of itself is crazy. The 90s man, the fuck was with this decade and dinosaurs?? I was a dinosaur kid for a lot longer than most other kids, we're talking from like 98 or 99 all the way to about 2004, all due to this decade's fascination with these legendary extinct creatures. But the movie has a fanbase that seems to be growing bit by bit over three decades since it's release with some individuals finding a print with many deleted scenes and made a pretty packed Blu-Ray from what I've heard. And yeah, you're gonna have to buy that Blu-Ray. Why? Because this movie is on zero streaming platforms, you either need to own it on home video or be like me and taped it off Starz in the early 2000s and you still have your VHS of it all these years later. It's the only true way to watch it in my opinion. So what's the score here? As an adaptation of a Mario game, of which there were about 4 console games at that point, I'd give it a 6/10. But just as a movie all by itself, I'm gonna give it a 7/10. It's really not that bad, just a bit odd in how it came to be. And if you really need a second opinion of it, Shigeru Miyamoto the creator of the Mario series, stated that the movie may have been a little too close to the games and focused on being a video game movie instead of just a fun movie on it's own. Maybe he's just being nice too, but I don't doubt the man himself. So 30 years have passed, video game movies are at a better standing now than they ever were, so what will the new movie accomplish? Will it just be a 90 minute cutscene from the new games, or will it have something going for it? Well I'm gonna let you in on a little secret, I haven't heard the Mario voice or any voice for that matter. See you tomorrow.

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