Sunday, April 20, 2014

Super Mario Brothers

Happy Easter, everyone, there's a few updates I want you to be aware of: there's not a lot of work done to trying to finish up school (which is sadly why the full-scale webcomic I'm planning is on hold, partly), but I'd like to share my feelings with a film I saw recently (no, not Captain America: The Winter Soldier: that was actually pretty enjoyable, but that's for another time). This is far older: the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. movie starring John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, and Bob Hoskins.

Super Mario Bros. is a great example of how difficult it is to mash a video game's plot (oftentimes simple and inane as the Mario series is) to adapt to a movie (and the mainstream crowd). There is another discussion on the whole "video game movies" genre, including the Hollywood/video game culture clash, and probably mention both Uwe Boll and Raul Julia, though in completely different terms.

The Super Mario Bros. movie is silly, stupid, confusing, and inconsistent. It's fine to take some liberties when designing movie characters, but what they did was just sad. So the plotline is that millions of years ago, when the meteor hit and all the dinosaurs were destroyed, not all of them were, creating a parallel dimension where dinosaurs evolved into humanoid creatures and live in a dystopia called "Dinohattan", surrounded by desert.

You'd really have to watch it in some way or another to really get what I'm talking about (and that includes you Nintendo fans, everyone else can ignore it), but aside from the obvious nitpicks, which are there many: why is Bowser Dennis Hopper with blonde cornrows and referring himself as "Koopa" (like all the DIC Mario cartoons did)? If they were using the Japanese name of Bowser (which is "Koopa"), then why did they use Daisy as the heroine instead of Toadstool, whose Japanese name was always "Peach"? Where's Luigi's moustache? Why is it that the Mario Bros. don't even get their iconic costumes until halfway through the film, and that's still only loosely based? If "Dinohattan" evolved separately from the "human world" then why do they speak English and have human mannerisms and culture? If "Dinohattan" is in another dimension, why is it underground, while the surrounding desert has a sky? And once you get done, there are even more questions--why is Toad, post-devolution into a Goomba, still helping our heroes? If Daisy really is of the dinosaur world, shouldn't she have noticed she has an aversion to cold, or something?

There are major problems with it, and the film ends with a sequel hook when Daisy shows back at the door (resembling Ripley) asking for the Mario Brothers' help once more. "You're not going to believe this" she asks in a take straight out of Back to the Future, and we never find out what this was, until a webcomic written with one the original writers started to be published in 2013, and is still ongoing as of this writing (see here). The webcomic attempts to explain what exactly the problem was as well as try to patch the more confusing elements of the movie.

This doesn't save other parts though--the lead actors were given a different script that wasn't the one that was really filmed, the film's pacing still isn't great (remember when I said that the "Mario and Luigi" costumes don't come into play some 66 minutes into the film?), and the whole thing feels a bit strange.

For more mixed feelings on Mario, check out the newly-added page for New Super Mario Bros. which is not yet added to the Games Page as I'm planning to do a significant revamp to it which won't be hosted on Blogspot.

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