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SUPER MARIO BROS. - 1 Slime
Rated PG
Copyright 1993 Allied Filmmakers
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 8 March 2004.

The Characters:  

  • Mario Mario - Bob Hoskins! The finest plumber in all of Brooklyn or the parallel dimension the exists beside Brooklyn.
  • Luigi Mario - Plumber in training. Mostly he just says amazingly idiotic things, usually to Daisy.
  • Princess Daisy - She is not human and takes her fashion tips from either Men Without Hats or the Crocodile Hunter.
  • The King (Daisy's Father) - Having been de-evolved, the monarch looks like a terminal case of jock itch.
  • Bertha - Female bouncer who wears a dress that would make a good chew toy for Clifford.
  • Yoshi - The first patient at the newly renovated abused raptor rescue center.
  • The Goombas - The result of de-evolving somebody's head. Just their head.
  • Iggy & Spike - Henchmen and inept cousins of the main bad guy. Eventually they get smart and get rebellious.
  • King Koopa - Dennis Hopper! Evil ruler of the dinosaur realm. His characterization had the unfortunate effect of reminding me of "Blue Velvet." Actually, that could have been pretty funny at times, if not wholly inappropriate for a PG film. Splattered.
  • Lena - She used to be Koopa's secretary, but moved up in the world. Turned into a fossil.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

People who make video games into movies have it tough. Sometimes the viewers complain that the film tried to follow the game too closely, while the fans will scream about small departures from what are usually threadbare plot lines. The trick is finding a safe middle ground or at least making a movie that preserves the spirit of the game. "Tomb Raider" and "Mortal Kombat" made good attempts, but "Super Mario Bros." barely resembles anything (including a coherent movie).

Sometime in the past, a woman hurries along dark city streets with a bundle held close to her body. She deposits the precious item at a church before returning a an underground tunnel where she runs into Koopa. That is the end of Daisy's mother. Nuns unwrap what the doomed woman left behind and do not find a baby; they find an egg! However, the egg soon hatches, providing the obligatory baby. Everyone say hello to Daisy.

Mario and Luigi are trying hard to make it as plumbers in the cutthroat environment of Brooklyn. That is to say that Luigi barely does anything of use, leaving the highly competent Mario to perform extraordinary acts of wrench magic. Too bad that a major building contractor (Scarpelli) also owns a plumbing business. This means that the two Marios often arrive at a job, only to find a Scarpelli van parked outside.

Meanwhile, across town, Daisy is in charge of a major paleological dig site. Yes, I mean that they found dinosaurs in New York. The group of college students has a court order blocking Scarpelli from resuming construction until the fossils are removed. Too bad that the businessman is a stereotypical Italian businessman (meaning: I think he is a mobster). Daisy jogs to use a phone after Scarpelli drops by to issue a few threats. En route she is tailed by Spike and Iggy, who are visiting the human dimension. The two stupid miscreants are not on vacation; they were sent by Koopa to find and kidnap Daisy. Unfortunately, as might be expected of anyone randomly snatching women in New York, they have grabbed a number women - none of which has been the Princess. Daisy sees the pair following her. Moments later she encounters Luigi, who falls madly in love at first sight. The girl wisely decides to accept Luigi's offer for a ride and the relationship begins.

There is the obligatory dinner date scene, chaperoned by Mario and his girlfriend, before disaster strikes. Scarpelli's goons sabotage pipes near the underground excavation. The rushing water threatens to wash away all of the bones, but Mario saves the day. This scene drove home a point: if your movie requires the actors to carry off action and tension, two guys fixing a water pipe is not the way to go. Lucky for us that Iggy and Spike bonk the Marios over their heads and abduct the Princess.

The plumbing team follows Daisy's screams through a dimensional portal (it sounds more impressive than it looks) and end up in Accident City. I should probably explain that, eons ago, a meteorite struck the Earth and sundered the dinosaur and human realms. In their energy-starved niche, the dinosaurs continued to evolve. They now look a lot like you and me. They are capable of building a machine that will accelerate or reverse evolution, but cannot design a safe automobile. The dinopeople world is pretty much an anarchist's wet dream. It is held apart from Earth by the meteorite, specifically one shard that Daisy wears on a cord around her neck. Koopa wants to reunite the two worlds and conquer the pitiful humans. Thus, he needs Daisy and the meteorite shard.

Got all that?

Which begs me to ask the question: does anyone really think that the Goombas could conquer New York City, let alone the world? Sure, the de-evolution guns are impressive, but they have a miserably slow rate of fire. Compound that with no combined arms and the hairless monkeys' (that would be you and I) numerical advantage. I think that the dinogoons would get their butts royally whipped, by the NYC SWAT forces if nobody else. Somebody could drive a truck, hopefully loaded with common sense, through some of the holes in this plot.

You know what? While we are speaking about idiotic plot holes, how about we ponder Daisy and Luigi's chemistry. Can the two lovebirds even have sex, let alone children? I mean, the girl came from an egg! Truly, all this deserves the attention of someone with more wisdom and intelligence than myself. All I can do is the literary equivalent of pointing and screaming.

Where were we? Oh yes, Mario and Luigi are now in the alternate dinodimension. The world is comprised of one dirty and raucous city surrounded by endless desert. Drop New Orleans into the middle of New Mexico and you get the idea. The metropolis is also infested with a hardy strain of fleshy fungus, which covers just about every exposed surface. (No Greg Bear comments please.) The two plumbers have a rough time adjusting to the city life. One minute they are chasing a big, scary, female bouncer (Bertha steals the meteorite shard from Luigi) and the next they are captured and interrogated by Koopa. All of this is very confusing.

The pair of resourceful plumbers escapes into the desert, but are chased by Iggy and Spike. Good thing that Koopa grew tired of their ignorance and made like the Wizard to the Scarecrow. Yes, he put his cousins into the evolution machine and turned the dial to "make them smarter." Iggy and Spike do emerge more intelligent, though just as inept. However, their new enlightenment means that they realize just how corrupt and evil a man rules their world. Mario and Luigi end up with some new allies; the final battle to save Earth and Daisy has begun.

Lena does, finally, take the shard and merge the two worlds. (No Mystics, Gelflings, nor Skeksis were harmed in the making of this film.) The merging lasts about two minutes before Daisy and Luigi pull the shard back out. The only notable result of the temporary dimensional mixing is that Scarpelli is de-evolved. Dennis Hopper gleefully exclaims, "Monkey!" after blasting Scarpelli with the Darwin Bazooka. Then it is back to the dinodimension, so we can all finally go home.

I cannot say enough about how tedious, poorly organized, and unfortunate I find this movie. This is more the pity, because I think that the quirky idea could have worked if a lot of things had been done differently. Two heroic plumbers saving the world is no problem for me to accept (some say I have watched too many b-movies); the film just needed a different script and direction. Maybe somebody else to play Luigi too - like Robert De Niro. He plays a darn convincing heating and air specialist. That is only a short jump from plumber in my eyes.

I am also not certain that I can forgive the prop department for using Marine Corps Dress Blues chevrons on the Goombas' uniforms. However, the best part has to be all of the Goombas dancing to elevator music. The film's best scene involves elevator music!

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • The Lord giveth breakfast, and he taketh it away in a disturbing manner.
  • Plumbers keep their plungers hung up on the wall, just like hunters display their rifles.
  • Reptiles have no concept of ORM.
  • Bungi cord is made from an elastic fungus.
  • It is fortunate that Brooklyners did not invent the bobsled.
  • Being electrocuted will make you look like the Bride of Frankenstein.
  • The primordial ooze looked an awful lot like green-tinted Ultraslime.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 1 mins - What if... ...I had twenty gallons of fettucine in my pants?
  • 15 mins - Look at that, a case of love at first orphaning.
  • 21 mins - If they run into Sean Astin I will die laughing.
  • 41 mins - Is there a big need for a front end loader on a police vehicle?
  • 45 mins - Does he have orange eyeshadow on?
  • 61 mins - I should have known that this song was coming.
  • 66 mins - Mario needs a life, that is why!
  • 92 mins - This is a story about "The Little Bomb That Could."

Quotes: 

  • Koopa: "Without that piece the meteorite lays dormant. I'll not be able to merge the dimensions! Where is it?"
    Iggy & Spike: "The plumbers took it."
  • Koopa: "I'll kill that plumber!"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note supermario1.wav Mario: "We went under the river, but this can't be Manhattan! Where is this place?"
Luigi: "I don't know. I ain't been to Manhattan in a couple of weeks."
Green Music Note supermario2.wav Mario: "Stop fiddling with the fungus, and let's get out of here!"
Green Music Note supermario3.wav Daisy: "Well, at least he was my father. He used to be the leader here, until Koopa turned him into all this fungus."
Green Music Note supermario4.wav Koopa: "Muster the Goombas! Hand out the de-evolution guns! Prepare for destiny! Where's my pizza?"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

ImageImageImage
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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipsupermario1.mpg - 2.5m
Daisy and Luigi are trying to pull the shard back out of the meteorite. Meanwhile, Koopa, some Goombas, and Mario suddenly appear in Brooklyn so a loose end (of the plot - meaning Scarpelli) can be tied off.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3 ... 7
Super Mario Bros.
Reply #1. Posted on May 02, 2004, 10:18:24 AM by ZoneZ
Oh good....two weirdoes playing Mario and Luigi......Suddenly, I am not so eargly waiting a sonic the hedgehog movie anymore.
Super Mario Bros.
Reply #2. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by qygibo
How does anyone not know who plays Luigi?  Does no one not recognize John Leguimzamo??  (Kinda funny, a Spanish guy playing an Italian "plumber").  He was also in such movies as Ice Age (he voiced the sloth), To Wong Foo, and Empire.  He was in more movies, but I can't think of them.
Super Mario Bros.
Reply #3. Posted on March 30, 2004, 09:49:58 PM by jesus
I loved this movie. absolutely loved.
Super Mario Bros.
Reply #4. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Asmodeus
This movie is weird... Unusual... And most of all dumb as hell... And that's why I like (liked? seen it a few times about 4 or 5 years ago, never bothered since then ;P) it.

Don't know if this is an inside joke or not, but "koopa" means "poo" in Polish (written "kupa", but sounds exactly the same). Would be the perfect name for this particular king. ;)
Super Mario Bros.
Reply #5. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Elphie
I actually really like this movie...it's funny when its suppoesd to be and even when it's not(the city is obviously a set, Fiona Shaw overacts like hell,etc.) I just saw it recently at the home of a friend who is a big fan and we had fun mocking it ("Is Daniella a hooker?") and defending it at the same time ("Aww, Toad's a NICE Goomba!") It ain't Shakespere, but it's campy and fun.
Some of my favorite moments include the Goombas waltzing in the elevator and Mario hitting on Bertha in the club.
Super Mario Bros.
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Jess
This article inspired me to go rummaging around for an hour for it. =)

I was obsessed with this movie 8 years ago as a little kid, practically. I knew the characters, and didn't care about how they butchered them and the simple storyline of the game. My theory is: this movie takes place before the games did, so I forgive the huge plot holes and such. I assume Luigi got smarter and grew a mustache later on in life.  

...And I didn't know that since dinosaurs are cold-blooded, the freezing building would've killed them, yet they never even noticed that the heat was off.

BUT, have you considered that this parallel dimension of Brooklyn could also be parallel to the video game Mushroom Kingdom?

I love this movie for all it's flaws: from the fact that despite being de-evolved to Jurassic, Koopa did not change into a lesser form of evolutionary life, to Mario and Luigi finding tower uniforms that don't resemble anything anyone in the towers are wearing. Anyone notice that Koopa called Daisy a mammal at one point? And how Toad sings about having no water, but at the end of the movie, they're dancing in water? And how Toad can still remember how to play the harmonica, despite his brain becoming the size of a fingernail... and even plays it when it's not near his mouth?  

God, I love this movie.
Super Mario Bros.
Reply #7. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by DigiRanma
I originally liked the Mario Bros. movie when I was a kid.  But now that I'm older, I relize something: This is just a movie with the Mario characters' names slapped on it.  Does not follow the games at all (GOMBAS ARE MUSHROOMS WITH EYES!  MUSHROOMS WITH EYES!  AND WHERE THE HELL ARE THE KOOPA TROOPAS?!  AND WHERE'S PRINCESS TOLDSTOOL?!) and it actualy makes Street Fighter better in that aspect.  If your movie makes Street Fighter look good, then rewrite the damn script.
Super Mario Bros.
Reply #8. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by ChocoHearts
Heh. This brings back memories.... Yeah, I can kinda see where people don't like it, with the silly "plot" and LARGE diversions from the games - but hey, it's fun to watch and laugh at, if nothing else. XD
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