Why is Super Mario Bros. the weirdest video game adaptation?

In 1993, Super Mario Bros. was the first live-action feature film based entirely on a video game. No one knew if the film would be a success or not, but there were reasons to be optimistic. Mario game was already one of the biggest and most successful games in the world. Since the release of this game, there have always been talks about making a movie, but no one knew what kind of work this movie should be, and now we come to the original question of why "Super Mario Bros" is the strangest adaptation of video games.

BingMag.com Why is Super Mario Bros. the weirdest video game adaptation?

In 1993, Super Mario Bros. was the first live-action feature film based entirely on a video game. No one knew if the film would be a success or not, but there were reasons to be optimistic. Mario game was already one of the biggest and most successful games in the world. Since the release of this game, there have always been talks about making a movie, but no one knew what kind of work this movie should be, and now we come to the original question of why "Super Mario Bros" is the strangest adaptation of video games.

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Being First

BingMag.com Why is Super Mario Bros. the weirdest video game adaptation?

Mario first as The main character of Donkey Kong, a popular Nintendo game, appeared in 1981 and has since appeared with his brother Luigi in several games, including the console game Super Mario Bros., which was released for free on millions of Nintendo systems. The two brothers, who were very well known around the world, were also used in other media and merchandise.

They appeared in a 1986 Japanese anime and a 1989 cartoon series in the United States. . The series even had live-action parts and the voice actors dressed as Mario and Luigi in these parts. The series received good ratings, but the reviews were negative, especially in the acting department, and this was a warning to people who were planning to make a movie version of these two brothers.

However, making a movie of Mario Bros. was inevitable. After the decline in popularity of arcade games and home consoles in the early 1980s, Nintendo made video games big business again. Hollywood embraced them, and the Mario brothers seemed like the perfect pairing for a cinematic adventure. Nintendo also wanted this collaboration and so it was decided to make a movie.

Production problems

BingMag.com Why is Super Mario Bros. the weirdest video game adaptation?

This work was the first film based on a video game, so there was no experience of how to develop it. The games of that time told simple stories, if they had any at all. Nintendo knew that this adaptation would be an experiment. In 1990, producer Roland Jouffet convinced them that he could do it and, in an interesting move, allowed them to retain the rights to the business. He was known for movies like "The Killing Field" and Nintendo apparently embraced his vision of taking a more exciting approach to games and making a movie that appeals to adults. He was approached to join the project but was reportedly turned down by Michael Keaton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito. Tom Hanks was rumored to play the titular character, but Bob Hoskins, then famous for Who Sewed Roger Rabbit's Clogs, agreed to play Mario. He later deeply regretted it. Next, the talented and young John Leguizamo also joined the project as Luigi.

Craig Beeman, later known for the success of his TV series including "Smallville", directed the film. But at the time, his only movie was the teen comedy Driver's License, and the producers decided to go in a different direction. Joffe loved the visual style of Rocky Morton and Annabelle Jankel, known for their commercials, music videos and the groundbreaking film Max Headroom. They agreed to direct the film, but intended for their film to be more like Tim Burton's 1989 Batman or the 1990 live-action adaptation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Both of these works were successful at that time.

The strange premise of the story

BingMag.com Why is Super Mario Bros. the weirdest video game adaptation?

Many writers worked on Super Mario Bros. and this is clearly evident in the story of the movie. What begins as a fantasy adventure like "The Wizard of Oz" quickly turns into a sci-fi story. Rocky Morton and Annabelle Jankel, the new directors of the film, loved the dinosaurs of the latest Mario video game, and on the other hand, they wanted their story to be more action-packed, apparently inspired by the movie Die Hard. Several scripts were written and different writing teams worked on previous scripts and tried to incorporate the elements that the producers and directors wanted. The Walt Disney Company agreed to distribute the film, but they also wanted changes to make the film more suitable for families and children.

Final work with the game The popular and famous Mario video was very different. The movie started in New York City, but its story mostly took place in an alternate post-apocalyptic dimension. The anthropomorphic dinosaurs that evolved there, including their leader, King Koopa played by Dennis Hopper, were named Dinehatten. The film focused more on the work side of the Mario brothers' plumbing job, which was a side element in the video games. He was responsible for part of the work in this project. One of the important elements of Super Mario are the mushrooms, which were animated in the games, but this time they were depicted in a fixed form. Goombas, who looked like a mushroom in the games, was a giant human with a dinosaur head in this movie.

Chaos behind the scenes

BingMag.com Why is Super Mario Bros. the weirdest video game adaptation?

Nintendo had set a tight deadline and so filming had to begin in the summer of 1992, although the script was never finished. Morton and Jankel were more than receptive to other people's creative ideas, constantly adding and changing different elements to the scene, involving the cast and crew in the process. Much of the film was shot in an abandoned cement factory in North Carolina in hot, humid weather. The main actors felt betrayed because the project had changed drastically and the set was constantly being changed. The previously fired writers came back to rewrite the story just before shooting the scenes.

No one seemed to be responsible for the mess. Morton and Jankel argued with each other and took conflicting orders. The cast and crew blamed them for the chaos. Several local strippers were even hired to dance in the nightclub scene, but some shots were too obvious and had to be removed. To make matters worse, Hoskins and Leguizamo began drinking on set.

The film's budget ran out by the end of filming, but the project still faced a long post-production phase. The directors were excluded from the editing process and the visual effects were completed after a year. Of course, many of these effects seemed dated even then.

Becoming a school of thought

BingMag.com Why is Super Mario Bros. the weirdest video game adaptation?

"Super Mario Brothers" was finally released in May 1993 and was a failure in terms of expertise and business. Siskel and Ebert slammed the film and listed it as the worst of the year. "Jurassic Park" opened the following month, wowing audiences with dinosaurs that looked real, and ended up grossing more than a billion dollars (while having roughly the same budget as "Super Mario Bros."). In several interviews, Bob Hoskins mentioned this film as the worst project he has ever worked on and criticized it many times. Dennis Hopper said the film was a nightmare and admitted he only did it for the money, but John Leguizamo was a little more reserved on the film's 20th anniversary in 2013, proud of his past and the film. p>

Super Mario Bros. has gained quite a following over the years, with many claiming that the movie is so bad that they love it. Others really enjoy the movie or at least refer to it as childhood nostalgia. Nintendo stayed away from making live-action adaptations for decades and finally returned to this field with 2019's "Pokmon: Detective Pikachu", which was a better and more successful film. In January 2018, they confirmed rumors of a new Super Mario Bros. animation.

But other studios didn't come short during this time, and movies like Street Fighter in 1994 and Mortal Kombat in 1995 were based on fighting games and more movies will be released in the future. The first successful work based on a game was Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in 2001. Of course, the reviews of this work were generally worse than Mario. However, there are dozens of other video game movies in the works, and for that reason, it must be said that, far from being awful, Super Mario Bros. was merely the beginning of this era and, in a way, a school of thought.

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