Super Mario Bros Review

Image for Super Mario Bros


The first film to be adapted from rather than into a Nintendo cartridge, Super Mario Bros, is a shrill, hectic and tiresome fantasy with little story, less excitement and no imaginable audience.

Millions of years ago, a meteor hits the Earth and causes time to fissure around the island of Manhattan, resulting in a cramped parallel universe where humanity has evolved from dinosaurs rather than apes. Lizard King Koopa (Hopper) runs the alternate city and has kidnapped fugitive Princess Daisy (Mathis), an orphan who was raised from an egg by nuns in our world, and who has just caught the attention of Luigi Mario (Leguizamo), younger brother and business partner of mustachioed plumber Mario Mario (Hoskins).

Hauled into the parallel world along with a shard of meteor that powers the plot, the Brothers set out to rescue her, blundering around a series of theme park rides trying to save the girl and depose the villain. What few good lines there are get snatched by Hopper who, partnered by the supposedly lizardy but notably mammalian Fiona Shaw, handles the villainy as if there were a real film to back him up rather than a melange of fungus-strewn, leftover Batman sets populated by shouting humans.

Occasionally, the special effects (a pet-size dinosaur, transformations, disintegrations) raise some interest, but there is never any sense that this is more than a technical showreel interspersed with Three Stooges cast-offs. Produced by Jake Eberts and Roland Joffe, usually so keen on Serious Quality Subjects, and directed by the husband-and-wife team who gave you lots of videos and Max Headroom, this poor imitation of a 90s blockbuster stumbles from the start and winds up flat in the dirt. Game over, man.