From April 5th, probably the most famous plumber in the world will jump onto the screen in the animation strip “The Super Mario Bros. Movie“: Super Mario is also known to people who have never held a gaming controller in their hands and Miyamoto for a motorcycle brand hold. No wonder, after all, the turtle-averse mustache man has been around for over 40 years.
In view of hundreds of games with the cute plumber, it seems all the more surprising that Mario, along with brother Luigi, villain Bowser, Princess Peach and mushroom-headed Toad, has hardly ever been on the big screen. One possible explanation for this phenomenon goes back to 1993, when what was probably the most abstruse video game adaptation in cinema history saw the light of day.
Mario as a real-life sci-fi dystopia?
Entitled “Super Mario Bros.” Exactly 30 years ago, a live-action adaptation of Mario actually appeared. The British actor Bob Hoskins (1942-2014), most probably known as Hook’s henchman Smee from the Peter Pan film of the same name with Robin Williams (1951-2014), embodied Mario in it. Meanwhile, John Leguizamo (62) mimed his younger brother Luigi, while Dennis Hopper (1936-2010) slipped into the role of the villain Bowser.
It got even more bizarre with the story: magical meteorite fragments, parallel universes, “deevolution chambers” and goombas with nightmare potential – basically the film had little in common with the video game, apart from the names of the characters.
In the end, the production cost was $50 million, which didn’t even come close to being recouped. Hopper and Hoskins unanimously describe the project as the worst of their respective careers. In view of this flop, did the film studios keep their hands off Mario and Co. for decades?
Everything should be better now
In any case, the new strip takes a completely different approach. As an animated film, it looks like a highly polished Super Mario game, and the plot also looks classic. The film studio Universal says: “While repairing a water pipe underground, Brooklyn plumbers Mario and Luigi are suddenly sucked into a mysterious pipe and end up in a magical new world.
When the brothers are separated there, Mario embarks on a gigantic journey to find Luigi. With the help of Mushroom Toad, and thanks to training from Princess Peach, the Mushroom Kingdom’s strong-willed ruler, Mario discovers new powers within himself.”
If you watch the film in the English original, you will also hear a star ensemble. Anya Taylor-Joy (26) voices Princess Peach, Jack Black (53) lends his voice to Bowser and Seth Rogen (40) stars as Donkey Kong. Meanwhile, many video game fans reacted with astonishment to the news that Mario was being spoken to by Marvel star Chris Pratt (43).
Quite a few had hoped that original speaker Charles Martinet (67) with his world-famous “It’s a Me, Mario!” now also allowed to conquer the silver screen.