In the annals of video game history, few games hold quite the status and legacy of Super Mario Bros. Released in 1985, Super Mario Bros. quickly achieved a reputation as one of the greatest games ever made and is almost singularly responsible for not only putting Nintendo on the map, but even saving the entire video game industry following the video game crash of 1983.
With such a legacy, its little wonder that video game adaptations of such a beloved game would occur. Unfortunately for history, the first such adaptation was 1993's Super Mario Bros., starring the late Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi respectively. To say the film was poorly received would be a gross understatement. The film is almost as legendary as the game it was based on, but mostly for how absolutely, abysmally terrible it was for the cast, crew and audience to deal with. The film was so bad that it actually colored the general audiences perception of video game film adaptations for nearly a decade.
The view on video game adaptations has slowly been shifting thanks to the release of films like Sonic the Hedgehog, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before Nintendo threw their hat back in the ring and adapted their most popular IP. The public reaction at the time that The Super Mario Bros. Movie was announced was, if I recall correctly, hesitance at best. The casting of big named celebrities like Chris Pratt rather than professional voice actors (like Charles Martinet, the actual voice of Mario) drew criticism, as did the hiring of Illumination (the company behind Despicable Me and The Grinch) to actually produce the film; as the company isn't exactly known for its films being super risky or transformative.
So The Super Mario Bros. Movie had a great deal of weight and suspicion going into theaters. Having watched the film with my brother and his horde of children, was this reluctance on the part of the audience deserved or is the film far better than the legacy that the 1993 film placed upon it?
- Directed by Aaron Horvath & Michael Jelenic
- Produced by Universal Pictures
- Runtime: 92 Minutes
- MPAA Rating: PG