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January 19, 2015

VGFlicks; Super Mario Bros. The Movie (Part 2)

Hello again... And welcome back to this review... of the Super Mario Bros. Movie... It already sucked, but I have a feeling it's gonna get even worse. You know, now that I think of it, this movie centers around the dinosaurs evolving into human-like beings, right? As in, dinosaurs make up a big part of the plot, right? But... There were very few dinosaurs in the Mario series. This movie came out after Super Mario World, so it incorporates elements from most Mario platformers that had been released so far (they used Daisy instead of Peach, for instance; Daniella's second name is Pauline; Yoshi is a character; there are numerous references to the baddies of the Super Mario games, such as Koopa, Shy Guy, Wiggler, Ostro, Bullet Bill, Spike, Iggy...), and while I applaud them for the loads of references, I still feel the need to point out that the Mario series is mostly about plumbers in a fantasy world – not a big city – fighting to rescue a princess from a turtle-dragon creature known as King Bowser Koopa. They defeat a lot of turtles along the way. It's like they said “Bowser looks more like a dinosaur; let's put a ton of emphasis on that!”

Oh well. Let's keep watching. I hope this movie won't break my Insult to Continuity Counter...

Remember, Mario: She is not technically human!
So, Mario has to flirt with a sassy black woman named Big Bertha to retrieve a piece of meteorite that she stole, and which President Koopa wants, so that he can merge his dimension with the human world so that he can de-evolve mankind and claim planet Earth as his own – What the Hell am I writing. Read that out loud. Does that make sense to you? There's so little sense here. To me, it makes even less sense than gamers taking control of other humans through nanites and forcing them into degrading or dangerous activities, mystery hunters getting trapped in a video game and having to fight off a crazy virus, or a child spy trying to stop a madman from enslaving childkind through a video game. ...All three combined.

Mario manages to convince Bertha to dance with him, and while they do he attempts numerous times to get the necklace off her neck. He succeeds, shortly before a bunch of Goombas arrive in the place. Remember that the Goombas in this film are large, musclebound humanoid goons with tiny heads and even smaller brains. Oh and they're freaking TERRIFYING to look at. Someone in the night club has called the police! Thankfully, Mario and Luigi get help from Big Bertha! (Where did that sudden niceness come from???) She gives them the Thwomp Stomper boots she used earlier to jump really high, and the two escape thanks to these odd boots.

Have I mentioned that this film is extremely dark? Not just the plot. Dinohattan is dark and gloomy. It's almost a literal Hell Hole. You don't want to live there. You sure don't want to see more of it. Don't get me started on how disgusting everything looks with that fungi invading everywhere!

Eternal smog clouds, darkness everywhere, and towers that
look like a dictator's residence? What am I saying, this looks
like a great place to live!

After the two have escaped, Luigi picks up a teeny weeny Bob-Omb stuck in the fungi, and they hide in a garbage truck heading towards Koopa's tower. Meanwhile, President Koopa goes to see a big blob of fungi attached to the ceiling above a king's chair. ...Wait. You mean that the fungi really IS the King? I'm thankful my machine is an Insult to Continuity Counter; if it was a Crazy Nonsense Counter it would have broken long ago. This whole thing sounds like a bad 60s sitcom.

She is the princess of a distant land, home of dinosaurs that evolved to become human beings. He used to be the king of said land, until a freak accident by an evil character caused him to start laying all over the city and leave moss wherever he goes. She's clueless in politics, she's clueless in love, but even in his state, her father can help her! Will she overcome her sitcom enemy, President Koopa, and help her father retrieve the throne? Is a giant mushroom good at giving romantic advice? Tune in this Friday night at 9:00 for My Father The Fungus, the new crazy sitcom! Ready to get canned in the middle of the first episode.”

After sneaking inside, Mario and Luigi mess up the heating system in Koopa's tower (Note that villains in the Mario series usually live in castles – Insult to Continuity Counter: 9,951), and then dress up as the maintenance employees of the tower in order to go unnoticed. Oh, those costumes? The overalls that made them so famous! With red shirt for Mario and green for Luigi! It took 66 minutes but they're finally dressed like in the games! Does that count as an insult to continuity? Um... I don't know...

Well, they got at least a few things right: Mario is chubby,
Luigi is a bit taller and skinnier. These clothes look kinda cool,
even if the colors are switched in comparison to the
actual designs... Oh well.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, sir."
"That sir isn't what I was thinking of!"
"Sir-tainly not what I was thinking, either."
Let's move on. President Koopa's second-in-comand/assistant/wife Lena goes in Daisy's room and tries to kill her, but Yoshi makes her trip with his tongue, so she flees. At the same time, Mario and Luigi are in a huge elevator, which many Goombas and other brainless musclebound dinosaur creatures (the Koopa Troopas???) also enter. They manage to trick the creatures into dancing to the elevator music, and then get out by a trap door in the ceiling. Daisy has escaped, but meets up with Iggy and Spike, which are gonna get killed for standing up against President Koopa. They decide to help her and bring her to the throne room where the fungus king awaits. In the games, Spike were a type of enemy, Iggy was a Koopaling, the Kings were transformed, sure, but there were 7 of them and it was only in SMB3, oh and none of them turned into a giant fungi that covered the entire world! (Insult to Continuity Counter: 9,995) ...Is this thing counting too quickly? Or maybe it's seeing things that I don't.

So, Mario and Luigi get kinda stuck in a vertical air vent. After freeing Yoshi, Daisy manages to talk to them over the building's camera system. Thankfully, the plumbers find their way around and find Daisy, who presents them her “father” the fungus. And yes, before you ask, that thing has been helping them during their quest. Mario remembers Daniella had been kidnapped too, so he rushes out to save her. Meanwhile, King Koopa realized that his wife got the meteorite piece and has ordered his troops and the police to find her. He also stumbles upon Luigi and Daisy, and captures them. Mario helps the girls break out of their “prison”, while the shard is brought to Koopa...

Mario escapes with the captured women by sliding in the large aeration tubes on a mattress (no, really), and the group arrives outside at the same time as Luigi and Daisy. Wait. I thought they had been captured?? (Continuity Screw-Up Counter: 1-Wait a second, that's the wrong machine!)

Yeah, the picture is blurry, but I was unable to get anything better.
Either way, this scene is stupid. Though it could have been a funny
Mario Party minigame.

There's also a few moments where Prez Koopa is trying to
order a pizza. Why? Because... funny, I guess?
Except it's not. And it raises too many questions.
Anyway, President Koopa arrives on the scene with a portable de-evolution gun (...seriously????) (?????????????) and tries to attack them, but Mario hits back, sending Koopa into a floating.... vat? Balloon? I don't care, he's sent somewhere over ground. Mario uses the fungus like a vine to reach the thing Koopa is in, then kicks Koopa from behind, causing him to drop the shard. Except Koopa's assistant Lena catches it and runs away, but Luigi gives chase and... and... er... Can you sense my complete disinterest at what is happening right now? Look, I'm trying to feel invested, but this movie has broken so many elements of the Mario mythos that I literally don't care what happens on screen. At this point I just want it to end. Just a final 20 minutes... I can do it...

Koopa believes Mario got the meteorite shard, so Mario serves as a diversion for Koopa while Luigi and the girls try to stop Lena. Mario pulls out the Bob-Omb from his pockets and starts it. The residents of Dinohattan run away, and even Koopa steps back. Wow, I thought they'd be more scared of, I dunno, Chain Chomps, Angry Suns or Dino-Rhinos... The Bob-Omb falls in a hole before it reaches Koopa, however. Oh, but don't worry, it's still walking.

She then joined a xylophone band in Dino-Hell.
Luigi sends the girls, minus Daisy, back home through the portal (but wait, doesn't that mean that they'll fall to their deaths on the other side??). Sadly, it's too late. Lena puts the shard back in the meteorite, gets zapped, turns into a skeleton, and the shock flings her away and into the nearest wall where she's surely going to become a fossil. I may not have chosen to become a physicist, I might not have the diplomas to speak on this matter, but damn, this makes no sense at all. However, the shard WAS planted correctly, so the two worlds start merging... just as Koopa is about to attack Mario. Huh. As the worlds merge, the Twin Towers are transformed (a shot which has taken a lot of new meanings since 2001...), and Koopa, his goons, and Mario appear in Brooklyn. Koopa shoots but misses Mario and hits Antonio Scapelli instead... and the entrepreneur is transformed into a monkey. And we get this hilarious delivery.


You can hear a part of Dennis Hopper's career blowing up in the background if you turn that video's volume to the maximum. By the way, I think none of the actors are trying by this point. It's too stupid for them. Dennis Hopper has gotten sillier and sillier as Koopa, and Bob Hoskins doesn't seem to be giving his all either.

Very few people know that for a good while, this was a demo
of the makeup that would later appear on Ralph Fiennes
as Voldemort in the Harry Potter film series.
P.S. Yes, I mean that as a joke.
Thankfully, Luigi and Daisy have pulled out the shard and so Mario, Koopa and the Goomba guards are brought back to Dinohattan. The Goomba who used to be Toad plays on his harmonica, so the other Goombas and Koopas start dancing and stop following President Koopa's orders. Mario and Luigi get their own de-evolution guns and zap Koopa, turning him into a tyrannosaur. (AGAIN: BOWSER IS NOT A DINOSAUR! HE'S A DRAGON-TURTLE! Insult to Continuity Counter: 9,998) But the Bob-Omb made its way up to where the characters are standing and blows up under Koopa's feet, sending him flying sky-high- Wait. Bob-Ombs can't climb to walls (ItCC: 9,999) and their explosions, while lethal, aren't that gigantic or powerful! (ItCC: 0,000.... 7,734... 9,999... 0,000... 9,999.... 666,6... 6264... 7,648... 9,558... 495,7... 95,75... 4,604... 6321,... 4,363... 946,0... ,04,34...)


(Insult to Continuity Counter: ♥♪!?)

GODDAMN MOVIE, YOU BROKE MY MACHINE! You suck, movie! Sigh... Goddammit. Okay, it's almost over...

It ws almost scary. Too bad it was so anticlimatic.
When Koopa has landed, he has fully transformed into a T-Rex, but he proves easy to defeat as Mario and Luigi just keep shooting him with the de-evolution guns to turn him into primordial slime. This victory is applauded by the crowd of Dinohattans, and Daisy goes to hug the Mario family. SOMEHOW Koopa's defeat immediately turns the King back into a (sorta) human shape. Even though it should have required an evolution ray or something or... why do I ask those questions? I knew this made no fucking sense!

Daisy opens the portal for Mario and Luigi, but cannot leave Dinohattan since it's her true home. Still, Luigi gets to kiss her before leaving. That scene alone brings interracial romance to a whole new level. Finally, the plumbers leave after waving goodbye to Daisy and Yoshi.

Cue an "Awwww" from the people in the theater who didn't
quite understand all the implications.

Three weeks later, Pauline - I mean, Daniella - lives with Mario and Luigi now. Mario's son (Can't believe I actually wrote that) is still moping, though. The merging of the worlds has still led to the Mario “brothers” to be famous in both worlds. Don't try to explain why, your brain will implode. Oh, but guess who comes-a-knockin'? None other than Daisy, in action girl gear, asking them for help. The Mario Brothers are back in action, baby!

Roll credits.

(Then there's a post-credits joke where Japanese entrepreneurs decide to make a video game about two brothers who took part in the action: Iggy and Spike. But I don't give a damn, because...)


I've heard stories about the filming of this bomb: It was terrible, with a couple of producers (Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel) who kept rewriting scenes and changing dialog frequently, causing said scenes to be re-shot. It got so bad that Hoskins, Leguizamo and Hopper pretty much lost all faith in the project (though, to be fair, I would have lost hope pretty fast too if the Super Mario BROTHERS was about a father and a son) and stopped trying. You can see Hopper giving an increasingly exaggerated performance as the film progresses. It got so bad that by the end, the script just wasn't a reliable source to understand just what the flying fuck was happening in this film, and the main three actors regularly arrived drunk on set. Here's a lovely quote from the late Bob Hoskins, from an interview in The Guardian.

The worst thing I ever did? Super Mario Brothers. It was a fuckin' nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks their own agent told them to get off the set! Fuckin' nightmare. Fuckin' idiots.”

Leguizamo also hated the end results, and has only started warming up to the film. It did give Hopper the opportunity to play more villainous roles, though. Can you imagine that, for a moment, Arnold Schwarzenegger was approached to play President Koopa? Yes! Totally! He would have made dinosaur puns all the way through the damn flick, would have worn a crazy suit and would have totally emphasized his Austrian accent. We would later see a “demo” of such a performance... in Batman and Robin, the worst Batman film ever made.

Just to ram it in your head that this place is ugly.
This movie is just ugly. The scenes in Brooklyn are alright... but Dinohattan is disgusting, ugly, dark and depressing. The fungus everywhere is just the icing on this disappointing cake. Super Mario Bros. is not supposed to be dark and gloomy! Well, it can be, it can even get very dark, but in the end, there is just a sense of fun that comes out of this video game universe. Not despair. Even at its darkest, the Mario series remains fun. This movie is not fun. And to go with its unlikable ambiance, we have a plot bloated with dozens of elements, way too many twists and turns, way too many things to keep in mind on every scene. This plot is too complicated, like it has no idea what to focus on. There are many unnecessary scenes, many moments that could have been cut. A fat, sassy black woman named Big Bertha who steals the shard for no actual reason? Why the Hell is this in there?

This is as much Toad as a Goomba is Bowser.
There are a few clever ideas here and there, but they're few and far between. Too many moments try to justify sticking a name from the Mario mythos to one character or to a location or thing, sometimes even if it doesn't make any sense. I don't complain that they use Daisy for the movie instead of Peach. I don't complain that the plumbers' family name is Mario. But outside of that, there are plenty of reasons to complain. I came into this movie with an open mind, because I knew I would have to accept a lot of things... but that means I was also very close-minded, due to my great respect for the Mario series the way it is. And I knew this was a mess that respected very little of the source material. Reviewing this was a battle of wits between me, myself and I, because I knew it would suck but I had to accept when something was done right.

The sets are alright, the music is also alright, and the special effects are pretty good (keep in mind that in 1993, CGI had just started; there were still a lot of practical effects). Heck, I'd say that in any chance, the special effects are almost a saving grace. But it's still not enough to save this movie from sucking.

Not to mention that some jokes feel REALLY out of place.
All in all, the Super Mario Bros. Movie is a deception. It's awful for fans of the Mario series who don't see anything of interest here (besides, most fans will quit watching after the revelation that Luigi here is Mario's adopted son). It's awful for people who don't know a thing about the Mario series because it's either a) a horribly misleading introduction to the franchise, kind of like the Digimon Movie (yes, I saw that one. Urgh.), or b) just plain bad. It doesn't even seem to know if it wants to be a movie for children or a movie for adults, because the situations are too complicated and serious for children but too childish for adults. Though apparently, Shigeru Miyamoto liked it exactly because it was different.

Skip this movie. Don't watch it. Or, even better, watch it with snarky friends who will make fun of it with you. Because it's very easy to mock this film. You want to watch good movies by the late Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo and the late Dennis Hopper? They've all been in much better movies. Take Hoskins, who's been in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. THAT'S a good movie. This one here is NOT.

This movie just goes to show how sucky culture can be. How awful culture can become when in the wrong hands. How bad some films can be due to a lack of respect for source materials. Why does it feel like culture is getting worse sometimes? Why do some people feel like movies, games, whatever, ruins their childhood? Whose fault is it? What are the reasons? Why is it this way? It's because of who, of what? It's...

(The incoming lyrics are a parody of this song.)

Because of Morton, because of Jankel
Because of DC, because of Marvel
Because of NOA, because of Miyamoto
Because of Sakurai, because of Nintendo
Because of whiners, because of GamerGate
Because of Steve Jobs, because of Bill Gates
Because of Ancel, because of Ubisoft
Because of Xbox, because of Microsoft

Why are you complaining
Of about everything?
Why are you so angry
That there's so much good you can't see?
Think, and take a pause
Is that really the cause?

Because of Phil Fish, because of Eron Gjoni
Because of Apple, because of Sony
Because of fashion, because of my look
Because of Twitter, because of Facebook
Because of the fangirls, because of Bieber
Because of E.L., because of Meyer
Because of EA and Lucy Bradshaw
Because of BioWare, because of SEGA
Because of LaBeouf, because of Gibson
Because of Whitehouse and of Jack Thompson

It's always because of... human stupidity

Because of Liefeld, because of Brodsky
Because of Affleck, because of Carrey
Because of Rodriguez, because of Michael Bay
Because of Rockstar, because of GTA
Because of Wall Street, because of corruption
Because of teen stars, because of One Direction
Because of clichés, because of racists
Because of crazies, because of extremists
Because of Friedberg, because of Seltzer (It's always caused by human-)
Because of Fred Phelps, because of Frank Miller (-Stupidity)
Because of the laws, because of Uwe Boll (It's always caused by human-)
Because of douchebags, because of assholes (-Stupidity)
Because of SOPA, because of PTC (It's always caused by human-)
Because of censors, because of anarchy (-Stupidity)
Because of George Bush, because of Stephen Harper (It's always caused by human-)
Because of Wiseau, because of Schumacher (-Stupidity)
Because of dubstep, because of gangsta (It's always caused by human-)
Because of Chris Brown, because of Madonna (-Stupidity)
Because of MacFarlane, because of Shyamalan (It's always caused by human-)
Because of Charlie Sheen, Because of the Wayans (-Stupidity)

It's always because... of human... stupidity
It's always because... of human... stupidity
It's always because... of human... stupidity

(end of the song)

Whoa, I really went on a tangent here. I had no idea I had so much hatred in me. That's... kinda scary. Oh well.

After watching this, any Mario game would be good. After this movie, I could stand playing Mario Pinball Land or maybe Mario Party 2 (but only the minigames). Actually... that might not be a bad idea. Except, not Mario Party 2. I feel like playing Mario Party DS. Because only a good work of fiction can remove the souvenirs of a bad one.

Hey, how about I review Mario Party DS this Friday? You know what? I'm gonna do exactly that! Don't miss it!