Cinema Connoisseur: Super Mario Bros. sparks poet in Connoisseur
Madonna. Cher. Sting. Arsenio. There are certain individuals who are so universally recognized that they only need one name. One of those individuals, Mario, almost single-handedly revitalized the video game industry.
Super Mario Bros. was an instant phenomenon when it was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1985. The game allowed you to take on the role of a plumber named Mario (or in the case of younger siblings who were stuck using controller #2, his brother Luigi). The ultimate goal of the game was to save a Princess from the clutches of the evil dragon-like creature, King Koopa. The game is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best selling video game of all time. So it came as no shock when a movie version of the game was given the green light.
While some game to movie translations have not fared well with critics or the general public, Super Mario Bros. could not be deemed as anything but a total success. Just look at the numbers, courtesy of boxofficemojo.com:
All-time box office rank #2,066
All-time box office rank for video game adaptations - #13 (take that, Pokemon 3: The Movie!)
All-time box office rank for movies released in 1993 featuring dinosaurs - #1 (assuming you don't include Jurassic Park for some completely arbitrary reason)
The film's story steers in a slightly different direction from the numerous video game adventures of Mario and Luigi. While I don't want to give away too much of the plot, the film tells the tale of two worlds — Manhattan, and Dinohattan, which is inhabited by reptilian creatures, and ruled by the dastardly King Koopa. The brothers live in Manhattan, but are dragged into the underworld of Dinohattan after encountering a young archeologist, who turns out to be a princess. Legendary science fiction writers such as Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, D.E. Cook and Isaac Asimov would certainly be proud of the tapestry that is brilliantly woven by writer Parker Bennett.
Super Mario Bros. boasts an all-star cast, which helps bring to life some of the most beloved video game characters of all time. As you can see by the accompanying movie-to-video game comparison chart, no effort was spared in making sure that this film was an accurate representation of the world millions of video gamers have come to know and love. I salute you, casting directors Don and Mali Finn, for your exceptional work.
Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) and John Leguizamo (“ER”, Moulin Rouge!) are both absolutely delightful as the plumbers turned super heroes, Mario and Luigi. While the character of Luigi has always played second fiddle to Mario in the video games, it is Leguizamo as Luigi who truly shines in this epic. Luigi shows himself to be quite the ladies man, as he tries to win the heart of the young Princess Daisy, portrayed by Samantha Mathis (Pump Up The Volume, Broken Arrow).
Dennis Hopper is the epitome of evil as King Koopa. Hopper has received much acclaim over his lengthy career, which includes roles in films such Rebel Without a Cause, Easy Rider and Apocalypse Now. Now I don't care much for those films, and quite frankly I felt he had been coasting for the previous thirty years. Well Dennis, I was wrong, and I am big enough to admit it. I truly believed you were a descendant of the T-Rex.
If you like video games, you'll love this film. If you love movies, you'll love this film. Heck, if you like entertainment, then prepare to be entertained. In closing, since this newspaper is now publishing poetry, I have composed this limerick summarizing the film:
Who is sent to a world that is crazy
Trying to save her is none other
Than Mario and his brother
This is better than anything by Scorsese