Mercifully, we’re approaching a time where our children and our children’s children will never know the horror of the 1993 Super Mario Bros movie.
For the unaware, it’s a notoriously awful film that took one of the most successful and beloved videogame franchises of all time and turned it into a feature length pile of Yoshi turd.
Bowser was a normal bloke, Goombas were strange little dinosaur things in trench coats, and Luigi didn’t even have a moustache. It was a freaky time.
In a recent interview with SciFiNow, director Rocky Morton opened up about his time on the project. Unsurprisingly, he concluded that the production was a disaster.
Starring the usually excellent Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) and Ice Age’s John Leguizamo, the film featured an alternate reality in which dinosaurs never died out. The two plumbers must fight the dinos’ descendants in order to rescue Daisy. Not Peach – Daisy.
According to Morton, that wasn’t actually the film that he originally had in mind – the initial script was thrown out:
They threw it out and told us to work with a new writer. The new writer wrote it in about a week and a half and then we were presented with the script… We were given a script that was completely different, and Annabel and I almost walked off the film at that point.
Naturally, the start of filming only delivered more trouble. Morton described the experience as “harrowing”, in part because he was expected to make a massive film with a tiny budget.
Morton also claimed that working with Dennis Hopper (who played Bowser) was a challenge, saying that he didn’t think Hopper had a “clue what was going on”. That’s something he had in common with the audience, then.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like Morton’s original script would have saved the project:
They had a problem because Mario, who’s the elder brother, didn’t have any parents and so Mario raised Luigi as a mother and a father and Luigi always resented that, and never really had the big brother that he always wanted. He just had this beefy mother figure. That was their problem and they had to resolve that while they had this wild adventure saving the world from these dinosaurs that had evolved into these humanoid figures, and deliberately distorting the story, because this is the true story of the Mario Bros.
I understand that adapting Super Mario into a feature length film would be a challenge – but aiming for gritty realism should never have been the way to go.
You can see why it scared Nintendo off making films for so long – they’ve only recently decided to get back into the movie biz, and they’ll be producing the projects themselves this time.
You can read the full interview here. It’s full of interesting little nuggets of info, including the fact that Danny DeVito was the first choice to play Mario. What a film that would have been.
There’s no word yet on which IPs Nintendo will first attempt to adapt for the big screen, but I’d hope one of their first priorities is to give Mario and chums the movie they deserve.
Maybe they can give DeVito a call?
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.