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#TBT: Old World, Fresh Eyes: SUPER MARIO BROS

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January 9, 2017 by heligena


So a new year is upon us dear readers, huzzah!  But since it’s a bleak and threatening Charlie Brooker-esque future that appears to be lurking just around the corner, we decided to turn our ride around and focus our attentions on the past for some sweet nostalgic elief.

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Thus we found ourselves cradled in the bucket seats of our Delorean DMC-12, our target date set to May 28th 1993 and the speedometer hitting 88mph before  boom, there we were!  Sitting in some ringside seats for the eagerly anticipated Super Mario Bros movie.

Now before we go any further, you don’t need to say it.  Why on Earth would we waste our time on re-watching this critically savaged monstrosity especially when we’ve all heard the stories about the nightmarish production, where a completely new script was handed in ten days before principle photography and where the directors entire storyboard was burned since it bore no relation to the new plot.  Hell, where six plus writers went to town on the script at different stages and producer Roland Joffe stepped in at the final hour to complete filming himself.

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Well the answer is that somehow despite all of these problems, we still kind of loved the movie when we were little.  Truth be told there was something oddly charming and incredible watchable about its technicolour craziness.  And maybe for most that was a cruising-past-a-car crash voyeuristic kind of charm, but we genuinely freaking loved it so the idea of taking another look at this gamer classic had us very excited from the get go.

And so, the great re-watch began.

And you know what…don’t judge but we still kind of loved it.  Yes it’s campy.  Yes, the continuity is all up the spout and nothing makes any kind of logical human sense but there’s an energy to proceedings that can’t help but infect you (like fungus….)

We were however left with a series of questions and thoughts after watching it again that we felt obliged to note down.

We’ve listed these below so feel free to sit back boys and girls and if you’re able to get hold of a copy maybe even watch along as we go to see if you see what we see …

ACT ONE:

EXT.  REAL WORLD BROOKLYN- DAY

  • Ah yes, now we remember how it starts, with the famous prologue!  There’s no getting around this, even we can’t argue that is isn’t a terribly CGI’d eyesore that exists purely to explains the films backstory (where the meteor that killed the dinosaurs sent a few unlucky ones into an alternate universe to evolve on their own path.)  Knowing that this was an extremely late addition to the movie (in fact according to one of the many screenwriters on the project it appeared to have been added after the first test screening of the film confused the audience bigtime) simply doesn’t help.  It really is a huge misstep and it seems obvious to us at least that Mario should never have been a narrator.  That tenacious little plumber is a man of action, a doer and having him give us the preamble just doesn’t fit with his character.
  • QUESTION 1: When we return to modern times why don’t the nuns in Brooklyn seem at all perturbed by the fact that a baby left on their doorstep hatches from a giant egg?! We know the Catholic Church is supposed to be all embracing but… come on.smb-egg
  • QUESTION 2: Would you really call a plumber for a broken dishwasher?  Wouldn’t that be more of a job for an appliance repairman?  Wouldn’t you ring Hotpoint or Indesit instead?  Maybe that’s just us. It probably doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
  • And we’re sure the Props Department had their hands full kitting out a five storey old cement factory for the film but having seen the level of detail in the background of the film we’re also sure they could have come up with a wittier title for the local newspaper than the Daily News?!
  • FUN FACT 1: There is some quality product placement for Evian though, guys when Mario’s van overheats.  Right in your face.  Check it if you don’t believe us.
  • You know what, the double date with Mario & Danielle and Luigi & Daisy was actually kind of cute.  Right up until Danielle, quite possible the palest woman in the history of the world tried to convince Daisy to come to her salon for a tanning appointment.  Was this a case of don’t get high off your own supply do you think or do what I say not what I do?  Answers on a postcard, peeps!
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  • QUESTION 3: Why does everyone use Luigi’s name so much when Daisy is kidnapped?  It must have been said at least fifteen times in the space of five minutes.
  • FUN FACT 2: We genuinely want some of the LSD the special effects guys were taking when they designed the portal to the alternate Brooklyn.  Seriously, we’re not even joking guys.  Anyone able to hook us up?

ACT TWO:

INT. ALTERNATE BROOKLYN aka Koopa’s Kingdom- DAY

Also known as the visual equivalent of Blade Runner meets Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

  • QUESTION 4: Why would Security here have a designated Plumber Alert?!  How many times have plumbers challenged the status quo and spread dissent through the kingdom at this point?  Someone totally needs to write a story about what happened previously…
  • smb-trumpWhich quickly brings us onto the Big Bad himself…Mr Dennis Hopper.  And Man, what a guy!  Channelling Donald Trump to a T in the role, he’s both crazy and immense.  The only criticism we could actually think of is whoever told him to tone it down with the T-Rex hands thing he was doing is a fool.  A fool!  More T-Rex hands pleas!  T-Rex Hands for President!
  • Mario’s surname being Mario we’ve learned was a complete invention of the scriptwriters.  We don’t know how we feel about this. Is it Genius or Lame?  We can’t seem to decided.
  • FUN FACT 3: Also in the police mugshot scene Bob Hoskins appears to be the exact same height as John Leguizamo! This didn’t seem right to us so we did some fact-checking and in fact John is actually one inch taller than Bob.  Artistic License strikes again!  Nice try though guys.  Aren’t the movies magical?
  • Koopa’s disguise as a Lawyer is Larry Lazard of ‘Lazard, Lazard, Conda, Dactyl & Cohen.’  This genuinely made us smile.
  • FUN FACT 4: If you’re eagle eyed enough look out for the wire visibly pulling the Bros stolen cop car off the car they landed on.  It’s pretty blatant.
  • FUN FACT 5: Fiona Shaw is brilliant. Also, she has an incredibly tiny waist.  That is all.smb-lena
  • In case you hadn’t noticed on the first watch, here is some advice given to Daisy when she meets Koopa’s pet/prisoner Yoshi- ‘try not to move your hands around like a small wounded animal.’  We have spent the last half an hour legitimately trying to do exactly this and we still can’t work out how you achieve it.  Anyone got any ideas?!
  • To tiptoe onto a slightly more serious topic for a moment, the treatment of women in the movie did in fact leave a nasty taste in our mouths this time around, particularly Dennis Hopper’s perv-tastic reactions to Daisy.  If you’d like some more evidence you can also check out Mario’s reaction to Big Bertha in the club after he tries to seduce her and she belts him one.  ‘She’s just shy,’ he says before following her and sticking his face right in her boobage.  We hesitate to use the word rapey about any of this but there’s definitely something here which isn’t to our taste.  And in fact if we could change just one thing about the movie it would probably be these semi sexist overtones to be honest.smb-bertha
  • QUESTION 5: Did Fiona Shaw actually drink a worm?!  It sure looked like it.

ACT THREE:

INT. ALTERNATE BROOKLYN/REAL WORLD BROOKLYN- DAY

  • Hands up, the swaying scene in the lift, you know the one we’re talking about is just…well, one of the weirdest things we’ve ever seem committed to celluloid.  We didn’t realise it until after watching that at this point the script contained precisely no scenes for the Brothers getting to their next location and so co-director Rocky Morton came up with this idea on the fly, using the idea of snake charming to hypnotise the Goombas and allow the Mario Bros to make a bid for freedom.  We can see what he was going for, don’t get us wrong but the scene is still beyond bizarre.  Nothing you can say will ever convince us otherwise.smb-dance
  • FUN FACT 6: Anyone who can deliver the line ‘Please meet your father…the fungus,’ gets props from us for not corpsing at any point.  Richard Edson, we love you.smb-fungus
  • Oh and building on the weird scene vibe from earlier, the mattress ride down the frozen pipe as Mario and the girls find themselves being chased by a bunch of Goombas is also completely inexplicable.  We get that Mario ducks down pipes all the time in the games but still. WTF, man.  WTF
  • QUESTION 6: Did anyone else notice that every time she is on camera one of the girls abducted from Brooklyn appears to have a cigarette in her mouth.  Which surely begs the question, how many packs did she have on her when she was abducted?!  And where did she store them on her person?
  • smb-smoking
  • Bob-Omb!  Love it.  Love everything about it.  The little guy has an impressively long…fuse.
  • QUESTION 7: Was that the twin towers shown briefly when the two worlds merged towards the end?
  • FUN FACT 7: Keep any eye out for some Schwarzenegger style punnage from Mario towards the end.  ‘See you later, Alligator!’- we see what you did there.  Keep it up.
  • Oh and FINALLY QUESTION 8: If Koopa’s world still has no resources left how are Daisy and her Father going to turn things around even if they stay?
  • SIDE NOTEL Roxette- hell, yeah!

That was quite the experience!

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And all right, maybe the movie’s internal logic doesn’t stand up to scrutiny and it screams exuberant nineties excess but we’ll always have a soft spot for it in our hearts.

Anyways let us know if you take the opportunity to rewatch this gem or if you have any answers for the questions above.  We want this blog to be a collaborative experience so come on down, one and all.

Your country needs you and your opinions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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