Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Extinction, Evolution or Devolution

Super Mario Bros. (1993) - Jankel, Morton Screen Shot 2021-06-07 at 8.31.06 AM Screen Shot 2021-06-07 at 8.31.27 AM Screen Shot 2021-06-07 at 8.33.45 AM Screen Shot 2021-06-07 at 8.44.13 AM Screen Shot 2021-06-07 at 8.51.02 AM Screen Shot 2021-06-07 at 8.59.20 AM Screen Shot 2021-06-07 at 9.33.31 AM Since I am not a gamer and didn't spend my childhood in the 90s, perhaps not a good judge of the faithfulness of this movie adaptation based on a famous Nintendo game. But what I can say is that for big budget children's movies go, Super Mario Bros., directed by commercial/MV directors couple Annabell Jankel and Rocky Morton, is bonkers for Hollywood standards.

The movie concerns an alternate universe where dinosaurs are not extinct from the Asteroid hitting the earth some 66 million years ago. In this universe, people who inhabit there are evolved from reptiles. The earth is a vast desert except for uh, Mushroom Kingdom (New York City Doppelganger). The resources is running out and King Koopa (Dennis Hopper), wants to merge the two universes with the help of princess Daisy (Samantha Marthis) who possesses a necklace made out of a fragment from the asteroid. Then he wants to devolve our population to apes with his mobile devolving machines with his reptilian army.

This set up manifests the most cyber-punk dystopian production design since Blade Runner. Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) are hapless plumbers from Brooklyn who get somehow thrown into the situation to save the world from King Koopa. It spouts some snappy dialog, environmental and animal rights messages, among others.

The aesthetic is kitchy and bright, but definitely not Nickelodeon. With commmited performances from Hoskins, Leguizamo, Hopper and Fiona Shaw, as Koopa's evil henchwoman, Super Mario Bros. is an entertaining, twisty game adaptation worthy of its cult status.