The new Super Mario movie is in cinemas

Thirty years later, one of the most iconic characters in the video game world returns in a film that favors publicity over wonder. Better go back to the old 1993 movie then

Super Mario Bros. The Movie

Back to the cinema after thirty years Super Mario From Nintendo, one of the most recognizable characters in the world of video games with more than 800 million copies sold in all its different series. The reason for this comeback is the release of Super Mario Bros. The Moviemade by Illumination Entertainment, directed by Aaron Horvat And Michael Yelenian and written by matthew fowlScreenwriter of the most recent success Minions 2 How Gru Gets Very Evil. In France, the launch of the film also earned a live event on the streaming platform Twitch from Place George Pompidou in front of the Center Pompidou.

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Mario is from the video game Donkey Kong (1981) by nintendo, one of the first “Platform Video Games”, That is, it’s all about jumping between hanging platforms while avoiding chasms, obstacles and enemies. In this video game, the protagonist (who will later be called Mario) has to climb the scaffolding of buildings under construction to save his girlfriend from Donkey Kong the monkey. But off Super Mario Bros. from 1985 Mario video games are above all Adventures in fantastic worlds that the protagonist traverses with his brother Luigi to rescue Princess Peach from the Mushroom Kingdom, who has been kidnapped for the umpteenth time by the turtle wizard Bowser. Unlike other adaptations, and this may be an element of interest and study for critics, Super Mario Bros. The Movie re-proposes the logic and mechanics of video games and describes a world actually made up of flying platforms and blocks Turn onI Power-ups (in this it can be reminiscent of novels based on Doom by ID software and written by Dafydd from Hugh and Brad Linaweaver).

The creator of the Mario video games was Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the many manga enthusiasts who built Japan’s first video game industry. Nintendo video games aim to evoke the fear of the unknown and the thrill of discovery.The spirit, the mental state of a child who enters a cave alone, needs to be realized in play. explains Miyamoto in the book game over by David Sheff.


But Illumination Entertainment’s new film sets itself a goal that we could define as the opposite, that of recreating perfectly recognizable places, characters and events with obsessive fidelity to what already exists. It’s a continuous accumulation of easter eggs, tributes and more or less hidden references ready to be analyzed by fans, articles and videos. Illumination Entertainment, known for the series Despicable Meis a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, with which Nintendo created the themed areas Super Nintendo World at the Universal Studios amusement parks in Osaka and Los Angeles. And the film is also an advertisement for these parks.

Super Mario Bros. The Movie installation in front of the Center Pompidou (Image courtesy of Twitch)
Super Mario Bros. The Movie installation in front of the Center Pompidou (Image courtesy of Twitch)


It’s hard not to think about it previous movie adjusted by Super Mario Bros.released in 1993 and the first film based on video games, while watching Super Mario Bros. The Movie. This is how the two operas begin: Mario and his younger brother Luigi (“Techno Pop Laurel and Hardy” she called them New York Times) work as plumbers in Brooklyn and magically transport themselves through the city’s sewers to another world. But the Super Mario Bros. 1993 was an Actors in the Flesh movie, with Mario played by Bob Hoskins (Who tricked Roger Rabbit?) and will be remembered as a catastrophic failure, also from the point of view of the collections. $39 million, less than what it cost. “The whole experience was a nightmare” she said Hoskins during an interview with The guard in 2007 and published in an article on Los Angeles Times in 1992. Since the filming was not yet completed, the actors were already talking about the film as a disaster.

The two directors Rocky morton And Annabel Jankel, had previously done commercials and only one feature film, but has garnered attention with cyberpunk shows, TV movies, and series starring their self-designed character, Max Headroom. They also pioneered the use of computer graphics, viz Super Mario Bros. From this point of view, it was an innovative film that combined digital and analogue, computer graphics and so-called “practical effect” those special effects that are created physically on set thanks to the use of puppets, makeup… Conflicts with the production team contributed to the directors’ lack of experience. The script even changed during filming as the studios that had invested in the work pushed for a children’s film while the directors wanted a more mature work. They wanted to do to Mario what Tim Burton did to Batman.

Super Mario Bros. (1993)
Super Mario Bros. (1993)


In the 1993 film, the parallel dimension in which Mario and Luigi find themselves is violent, desolate and now without natural resources. Here it was the dinosaurs that evolved into anthropomorphic creatures, and now they live in a grim parody cyberpunks of New York controlled by an evil president, the evolved tyrannosaurus Koopa (Dennis Hopper in a sort of caricature of his character in blue velvet by David Lynch). The urban spaces were designed by David L. Snyder, the artistic director of Bladerunner. Streets and buildings are invaded by a Mushroomthat’s all that’s left of the ancient king of this world, who is nonetheless determined to help the protagonists save a princess once again. “Trust the Mushroom” “Trust the Mushroom” Reprise the characters in a rare positive portrayal of these life forms so important to the environment and loved by art and science as is typically abused by mainstream entertainment.

In the Super Mario Bros. From 1993, few designs borrowed from the video game are recognized and, despite the directors’ opposition, at some point the protagonists even appear wearing dungarees and colors from the Nintendo series. But apart from these exceptions In this film, everything is new and mysterious and strangeas it should be, entering an unknown cave and encountering an inhuman world.

Matteo Lupetti

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