The year is 1993. A strange wind whips through Hollywood, carrying with it the scent of pixelated Goombas and digitized dinosaurs. It’s a time of boundless optimism, where video games are poised to conquer the silver screen, and what better place to start than with the iconic Super Mario Bros.?
Thus, we are given the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie, a film that has achieved legendary status not for its critical acclaim (of which there was little), but for its sheer, unadulterated weirdness. Let’s just say, revisiting this cinematic fever dream is an experience that will leave you questioning your own sanity and wondering if you somehow inhaled a warp pipe’s worth of psychedelic fumes.
A Plot More Twisted Than Bowser’s Koopa Clown Car
The film’s plot, if you can call it that, concerns two Brooklyn plumbers, Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo), who stumble upon a portal to Dinohattan, a dystopian New York City ruled by the reptilian despot, King Koopa (Dennis Hopper). Koopa, with his bleached blonde hair and iguana skin suit, is a villain so gloriously over-the-top, he makes Freddy Krueger look like a shy librarian.
His goal? Drain the Earth’s life force using a giant slug monster named, yes, you guessed it, “Toadsley.” Because apparently, in this alternate universe, Princess Peach is a human damsel in distress and Toad is a giant, pulsating tumor.
Visuals That Would Make Mario Puke Up Rainbow Stars
Strap yourselves in, folks, because the visual effects in this movie are a trip straight to the uncanny valley. Koopa’s goons, the Goombas, are these rubbery, bulbous monstrosities that look like they were rejected from a Tim Burton movie. And don’t even get me started on the live-action Yoshi, a nightmarish abomination that will haunt your dreams forever.
Then there’s Dinohattan itself, a neon-drenched nightmare city that looks like it was designed by a committee of acid-dropping ravers and five-year-olds. Think Gotham City mated with a pinball machine, and you’re still not even close.
Performances That Range from Baffling to Brilliant
Hoskins’ Mario is a manic ball of energy, chewing the scenery with the gusto of a Piranha Plant on a sugar rush. Leguizamo’s Luigi, on the other hand, is a whiny, neurotic mess, but in a way that’s weirdly endearing. And Hopper? Well, Hopper is just having the time of his life, hamming it up like a Shakespearean actor on roller skates.
So, Is It Good?
Is the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie a good film? Objectively? No. It’s a mess, a glorious, technicolor mess, but a mess nonetheless. But is it entertaining? In a demented, “can’t look away from the train wreck” kind of way, absolutely.
It’s a film that defies logic and coherence, a cinematic fever dream that will leave you equal parts bewildered and amused. It’s a testament to the insanity of Hollywood in the early 90s, and a reminder that sometimes, the weirdest things can be the most memorable.
So, if you’re looking for a film that will challenge your expectations and tickle your funny bone in the most bizarre ways possible, then the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie is for you. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
P.S. If you do decide to watch this cinematic oddity, I recommend having a bottle of brain bleach on hand. You’ll thank me later.