Video Game Movie adaptations have always been bad ideas. While there are some small exceptions, such as Netflix’s The Witcher and Castlevania, good video game movies or shows are few and far between. Even when Hollywood makes a good video game movie, it’s still not the best movie. I will defend to my dying day that Rampage is as close as you’re going to get. But before Sonic, or Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider, hell even before the original (and best) Mortal Kombat movie in the 90s there was one video game movie that was all we needed it to be, but everyone refuses to acknowledge that it was ahead of its time.
The Super Mario Brothers movie starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo. In the year 1993, this movie was already hitting all the tropes and cliches that we’re still banking on in 2021 to launch adaptations or reboots such as the gritty, grim-dark setting.
Another thing to keep in mind is that turning video games into movies is generally a bad idea because video games even on the short side are 5+ hours of story and on the long side 50-60 hours. It’s what companies like Netflix are finding success in the longer form storytelling of series with The Witcher and Castlevania.
When Video Game Movies do work, there really isn’t a story to worry about, such as Rampage or even Sonic. Fans can’t cry that you didn’t ‘stick to the script’ when the script is just monsters fighting each other. This is exactly why the Super Mario Brothers movie is a lot better than anyone is giving it credit for.
Is it a good movie? Of course not. But as far as an adaptation, let’s look at what Mario is actually about. He’s a Plumber that runs through a world of flying turtles, fireballing hurling dragons, and whatever-the-hell a Goomba is to save a princess. He eats mushrooms to grow big, eats flowers to throw fireballs of his own, and if he grabs a bouncing star he’s invincible. So, take a minute to yourself, imagine it’s 1993 and tell me what a good Mario movie looks like?
On top of that, they did the Marvel post-credit scene before Marvel Studios was even a dream. So, do yourself a favor and give Bob and John, the first plumbers Mario and Luigi, another try. With an open mind and remembering what a truly bad Video Game Movie really is (Alone the Dark, Bloodrayne, Far Cry…thanks Uwe Boll).
In fact, now is the best time to do so considering that an extended cut of the live-action Super Mario Brothers feature film was found in 2019, was restored and remastered, and recently released for public viewing with 20 minutes of previously unseen deleted scenes. It’s called the Morton Jankel Cut (after the directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel) and can be found on the Internet Archives at Archive.org.
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Feature Image Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images