My wife and I have been watching movies known for being horrible, and she had not experienced Super Mario Brothers before, despite being a fan of the games. Note that I say experience instead of viewing because this movie assaults all of the senses.
Videogame movies are never very good, but there have been a few instances where the source material at least has a cohesive narrative. The Mario franchise is about a dude who runs to the right and stomps living things to death—and something about a princess. The movie is about two plumbers who are transported to another dimension to fight an evil despot and prevent him from taking over the world. In other words, this movie has fuck-all to do with the game.
The film itself is perplexing because of how insane every element is. The story is stunningly simply, yet manages to make almost no sense at the same time. Characters come and go with no reason, and everything is portrayed in what appears to be the stupidest way possible. It also manages to have break-neck pacing while also being a bloated and boring mess.
It truly is a paradox of filmmaking.
The bummer of the film is that it doesn’t fall into the category of so bad it is kind of awesome. This one is so bad it is kind of shockingly funny for a bit, then it just gets painful to watch.
The sunny and colorful world of Mario becomes a dreary a fungus-ridden post-apocalyptic hellscape as Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) are transported to an alternate dimension where evolved dinosaurs (who mostly just look like people) have created their own society. Hoskins gives it his all, and it is unfortunate that this film probably contributed to him being cast in lesser quality films from here on. The surly Mario reacts in similar ways as the audience—both annoyed and shocked by the stupidity around. Leguizamo was apparently told to portray a man so stupid he can barely function. The two don’t mesh well, and the constant bickering/oddly timed moments of brotherly love don’t make for compelling viewing.
King Koopa (Dennis Hopper) is an interesting character. It is interesting to see this character today as it seems Hopper portrayed Koopa by acting like Donald Trump (at least this is the rumor). Now, I’m not saying Trump takes mud baths and orders pizza with dinosaurs on it—but I’m also not saying it isn’t a possibility.
The most impressive feature of the film is that the actors are all trying here. The acting isn’t bad—the writing is fucking atrocious, don’t get me wrong there—but the acting is okay. I think this is in part what makes the film not fun to watch—there was obviously major issues in development that simply destroyed what at best could have been a forgettable action romp. The ugly scenes lack charm, the humor lacks laughs, and the action causes yawns. It isn’t a fun one to mock—it is just a mess.
I am willing to bet this is the last time Nintendo releases creative control of any of their franchises. 0/10