Super Mario Bros. (film)
Super Mario Bros. is an American science fiction live-action movie adaptation of and is loosely based on the Super Mario series of video games, produced by Lightmotive and released in theaters on May 28, 1993 by the now-defunct Hollywood Pictures division of Walt Disney Studios. While the film draws inspiration from the games, it spins these elements into a more realistic and darker fashion. The movie was originally written as a fantasy-style film, but was gradually changed over numerous rewrites to the point where it became a sci-fi/action film. It was written by Parker Bennett, Terry Runte, and Ed Solomon, and directed by Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton. Produced on an estimated budget of $48 million for its high-profile cast and special effects, Super Mario Bros. was the first Hollywood film based upon a video game property. It is rated PG for sci-fi action, mild language, and sensuality by the Motion Picture Association of America. The movie was a financial failure and has received generally negative reviews from critics, but it since has gained a cult status in spite of, or even because of, its negative reception.
The movie involves Brooklyn plumbers and brothers Mario Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi Mario (John Leguizamo), who are struggling to get by due to their lack of money and work. They meet a girl, Daisy (Samantha Mathis), who is working on an excavation site while also trying to stop Scapelli from taking over the site for construction purposes. During this time, Luigi falls in love with Daisy, though she is soon after kidnapped by two men, Iggy (Fisher Stevens) and Spike (Richard Edson), who take her to a parallel dimension created by the meteorite impact 65 million years ago, where the dinosaurs were teleported to as soon as it struck. Here, they, like the other mammals in Earth's dimension, evolved into vicious humans, ruled by President Koopa (Dennis Hopper). The brothers now have to go to the other dimension in order to save Daisy and stop Koopa's plans to reunite the two dimensions so he can rule both.
In a 1989 issue of Los Angeles Times, it was reported that "DIC Enterprises will produce a full-length animated feature film based on the characters from Nintendo's 'Super Mario Bros.' game" to be released in 1990. Similarly, in a 1990 issue of TV Guide magazine listing some upcoming animated movies, this movie was among those listed (suggesting it was originally meant to be animated) and scheduled for release in summer of 1991. Super Mario Bros. was released on VHS later in 1993, and was later re-released on DVD in 2003. On August 15, 2010, the DVD version was re-released in memory of Dennis Hopper, who had died two months earlier. United Kingdom film distributer Second Sight Films later re-released the movie on both DVD and Blu-ray formats, originally stated to be released on August 11, 2014 before being delayed to November 3 due to needing to work on new extras. A SteelBook special edition of the Blu-ray release with even more special features was released on February 13, 2017, exclusively through UK retailer Zavvi. A deleted scene was discovered in 2019.
In an animated segment, a prologue to the film is given, taking place in Brooklyn, sixty-five million years before the present (1993, at the time of the film's release). The dinosaurs are shown to be content, intelligent creatures that rule over the earth while mammals scurry about unnoticed. However, when a meteorite crashes into the Earth, the impact carries a force so powerful it both killed off many dinosaurs while creating a parallel dimension. In this dimension, the evolution of dinosaurs continues parallel to our world's mammals, resulting in human beings, some with reptilian traits and temperaments. The narration then offers the question, "What if they found a way back?"
The film then cuts to live-action, twenty years before present day (1973), with a young woman hurriedly running down a Brooklyn street to a cathedral, carrying a bundle covered in a red blanket. There, she places her bundle down, revealing a metallic oval case. After locking a blue crystalline-shard into an opening on the case, she lovingly strokes it before pounding on the door repeatedly, then flees, running through the streets of Brooklyn once more.
A nun eventually opens the cathedral front door and, noticing the metallic case at their doorstep, takes it inside. Meanwhile, the young lady continues to run down the Brooklyn streets, narrowly dodging honking drivers before reaching an open manhole, and climbs down inside. Back at the church, the nuns observe the case as it opens, revealing a large egg.
The woman continues to run down a long sewer tunnel, eventually reaching the end, while frequently looking back in fear. As she backs into another tunnel, a tall, sinister man emerges from the dark and demands the location of "the rock". She jumps away from him in surprise, exclaiming, "Koopa!" He grabs her, accidentally knocking a support beam which causes the tunnel to collapse around them. Koopa blocks the exit, leaving her to be crushed as she screams.
Back at the cathedral, the nuns watch as the egg they discovered hatches, hearing human crying as it does. The egg then fully hatches, revealing a baby human girl. The nuns then look at the rock shard that came with the metallic case they found.
In the present day (1993), Mario Mario and Luigi Mario are at their home and business, Mario Brothers Plumbing Services. Luigi lies on the couch, eating snacks while watching a television program, Our Miraculous World, in which the host introduces the concept of other dimensions. As the show continues, Mario receives a call in the other room for a job at the River Front Café. As the brothers hastily prepare to leave for the job, the two argue about lack of money. Mario, as he drops Luigi's boots on him, complains that Luigi has spent money on the New York Post. Luigi protests that it has the article on the missing Brooklyn girls, which doesn't satisfy Mario.
The two set off in their van to the job, still arguing over their lack of money. Luigi decides to use his instincts instead of Mario's directions, taking a "shortcut" through an alleyway. The Mario brothers eventually arrive at the Café, get their work gear, and start to walk toward the entrance, only to see that the Scapelli Construction plumbing van, their corporate rivals, have beaten them to it.
Meanwhile, a newscaster discusses the closing of one of New York's largest construction projects, located near the Brooklyn Bridge, to allow New York University students to continue excavation in the advent of the discovery of dinosaur bones in the area. Head construction contractor Anthony Scapelli arrives to attempt to persuade excavation to cease so he can continue construction. Noticing his arrival, a blonde, female student named Daisy approaches him and holds her ground, refusing to quit until work is finished. Scapelli threatens the project, forcing Daisy to walk off in hopes of gaining increased security.
Elsewhere, Spike gets into a car, where Iggy is sitting in the passenger seat. As they notice Daisy walking into town, they begin discussing their previous failures, and that if they make another, Koopa is going to "kill them". They then begin their attempt at capturing her. At that moment, Mario and Luigi are driving down the street and their van stalls. They pull over and open the hood, which causes steam to flow in their faces. Mario tells Luigi to check their messages for work while he attempts to fix the radiator. Daisy continues to walk down the street, oblivious to Spike's following her. Just as Spike is about to move in, several men carrying a pane of glass walk between him and Daisy and he hits his face against the glass. Defeated, he returns to their car.
Mario enters a nearby store for bottles of water to cool the radiator down, just as Daisy approaches the pay phone. She paces about, waiting for Luigi to finish checking their messages. Rather than doing so, he wordlessly hands her the phone. Mario emerges, asking if they had any work, to which Luigi replies by simply saying, "No," as his brother walks toward the van. Luigi eventually follows, asking Mario if he thought Daisy was beautiful. Mario then urges his younger brother to talk to her, and, as soon as she finishes her call, she approaches Luigi to thank him. He awkwardly offers her a ride, leaving Mario to "translate" his message for him. She looks about and sees Iggy and Spike in their car, and, thinking them thugs of Scappelli's, accepts their offer and goes back to the dig site. Once there, Luigi asks her out for dinner later that evening, which she agrees to.
That night, Luigi with Daisy, and Mario with his girlfriend, Daniella, have a double-date at an Italian restaurant together. Here, the two girls discuss the dig and how it began: Scapelli's dig-team found iridium, suggesting that a meteorite had struck there at one time. Findings suggest that the meteorite could have been the same one that caused extinction of the dinosaurs. The conversation then shifts to the rock shard Daisy wears around her neck. She reveals that she never takes it off because it is the one connection with the life she never had when she was abandoned. On hearing this, Luigi excitedly tells that he also doesn't know his parents due to their death in his childhood. Because of this, his brother Mario brought him up as a parent as well as a brother. Daisy and Luigi look into each other's eyes before in shy connection before awkwardly looking away. At this point, Daniella suggests that she and Mario take the van back themselves to allow Luigi to walk Daisy home.
As Mario and Daniella leave the restaurant and enter their van, Iggy wakes Spike, who was sleeping in their car. Iggy, upon seeing Daniella, believes her to be Daisy in disguise in an attempt to trick them, and gets out of the car to try and capture her, but Spike pulls him back in. Spike notices that she is not Daisy, but Iggy tells him that she is, but she is wearing a disguise. They then decide to follow Daniella to where she lives and kidnap her there.
Down the street, Luigi and Daisy start talking, eventually leading to a discussion about what Daisy is working on. They then decide to go to the excavation site so Daisy can show Luigi more about her work. Meanwhile, Mario is saying goodbye to Daniella near her apartment. Iggy and Spike then arrive at their location on foot, waiting for Mario to drive off before grabbing her. Her screams for help go unnoticed.
At the excavation site, Daisy and Luigi finally arrive, and she tells him about how Scapelli himself showed up earlier, and that she was calling her university for extra money that they wouldn't give. Daisy then leads Luigi into an underground sewer-like area, and shows him various dinosaur fossils lined on the floor, one of which has opposable thumbs and looks to her as if "...it was a monster, trying to be a human being," unaware that it was her mother. The two move in to kiss, but are interrupted by the sound of water spraying and the sight of two of Scapelli plumbers fleeing, after having broken a set of pipes in an effort to flood the site. Luigi and Daisy run back to Mario's apartment to get help in repairing the damage. Mario and Luigi then set to work.
Iggy and Spike then show up, arguing over how they have failed in capturing Daisy five times. Hearing a noise nearby, Iggy senses the presence of Daisy. They then find the Mario brothers, having fixed the pipes and stopping the flooding, and knock both of them out and capture Daisy.
The brothers soon regain consciousness and frantically follow the sound of Daisy's voice, utilizing Mario's knowledge of pipe echoes to guide them through the cave. They finally come to a ledge over a steep drop, a river having formed from the flooding, across from which Daisy's voice seems to come though the solid rock wall. As they stand there, Daisy's face appears through the rock and Luigi tries to jump for her, but is held back by Mario. Daisy leans herself though the rock again and Luigi attempts to grab her, but only succeeds in taking her necklace. With her necklace in his hand, Luigi looks back at the rock; Mario commenting that it was impossible. With a feeling, Luigi kisses Mario's forehead in goodbye and leaps straight through the solid rock. Mario then slips and falls through himself, transporting through a psychedelic landscape before disintegrating and reassembling on the other side in a large chamber.
"...We're not in Brooklyn no more"
Circling around a giant meteorite embedded into the floor, Luigi and Mario chase after Daisy and her kidnappers, who claim to be taking her back to where she belongs. The brothers burst out of the tunnel, through a metallic door, and emerge into a crowded, noisy, fungus-covered street in the city of Dinohattan. Pushing through the crowds, they stop dead in their tracks and look around, taking in their surroundings. Suddenly, they see Iggy, Spike, and Daisy on the street below. The kidnappers pull a screaming Daisy into a cab. A cop then arrives and pulls the brothers away for creating an "incident." They fall through a railing, and fall onto the streets below. They then decide to take in their surroundings before taking the next step. As they are walking away from an area in the city, a hidden Goomba peers from the shadows.
In Koopa's Tower, Koopa and his lover, Lena, discuss how pathetic and disgusting their world is. Koopa notes the situation is worsening by the day, while in the parallel world the mammal-evolved humans have plenty of resources, such as food and clean air and water. He continues to bemoan the germs and fungus that fill their world, which he claims were "exiled" too by the meteorite strike sixty-five million years ago. However, he also claims that the mammals may roam free in the other dimension now, but not for much longer. With ecstatic pleasure, Koopa claims that with the rock and Princess Daisy, he is finally able to merge their world with that of the mammals, as well as destroy them. As he sits at his desk, Iggy and Spike enter, greeting him as their cousin and reporting that the princess has been captured. Excited, Koopa asks where the rock is. The two admit that "the plumbers took it", referring to Mario and Luigi. Instantly, Koopa demands Lena to put up an alert for their capture.
Outside, Mario and Luigi are trying to figure out where they are, and are eventually confronted by an old lady who asks if they are "new in town", citing that the city is dangerous to be in without a weapon. When Luigi admits they are unarmed, the old lady pulls out a large tazer and demands "Koopa coins". Noticing Daisy's necklace around Luigi's neck, she pulls it off just as a large black woman in red, Big Bertha, approaches from behind. Seeing the necklace, Bertha grabs the old lady and throws her down into the street, causing much confusion below, and taking the necklace for herself. Mario asks for the rock back, but she then activates a pair of Thwomp Stompers and escapes to the other side of the street. Having noticed their dismay, a friendly street-musician named Toad begins to play an anti-Koopa song on his guitar, detailing the far-worse things in his world. Two police officers then drive up and arrest him, then arrest the brothers after noticing they have plumber's gear.
Meanwhile, two Goombas drag Daisy to a prison room in Koopa's Tower. Daniella and four other women are also inside. The two share a joyful reunion, with Daniella explaining that Koopa is looking for a princess, but took the wrong girls. Elsewhere, Mario, Luigi, and Toad arrive at the police station. The two brothers are "de-fungused", then placed in a prison resembling a chicken coop. Toad is placed above Mario and Luigi, who are sharing a cell. Playing his harmonica, Toad sings about the brothers being from another dimension. Luigi then asks what he meant by that. The musician clarifies by explaining that, according to history, the impact of a meteorite divided their universes into two parallel dimensions. He goes on to explain that he believes that the fungus infesting the city was their old king, who was de-evolved by Koopa and is now seeking revenge.
The police chief calls for the Mario Bros. to be brought before their lawyer. The lawyer is actually Koopa, claiming to be a "Larry Lazard of Lazard Lazard Conda Dactyl" in an attempt to trick them into giving him the necklace. His attempts fail, however, because Mario and Luigi don't understand what he's talking about. After his patience fails, Koopa drops the facade and attacks Luigi before ordering them to be taken to the de-evolution chamber.
The de-evolution chamber
Koopa casually walks into a large chamber with an elaborate throne-machine, in which Toad is strapped into. He insults Koopa while saying the King has returned and is all around them. Unfazed, Koopa orders the machine to be activated and Toad de-evolved. Toad transforms into a Goomba, and Koopa explains that evolution is an upward process, while de-evolution is the opposite. Using this process, he can create a strong, loyal, and, most importantly, stupid subject. In anger, Luigi tries to attack Koopa but is held back by Mario. Mario asks him what he evolved from, to which Koopa replies that his ancestor was the Tyrannosaurus rex. He then threatens to de-evolve them if they don't tell him where the meteorite piece is. Instead, the brothers shove Koopa into the de-evolution chair and take out his men. Luigi then sets the machine to the Jurassic period and the pair push the chair into the de-evolution device before running off. However, their speeding up of the process causes it to end prematurely. Koopa's eye briefly fluctuates to a reptilian-slit before returning to normal.
Pursued by Goombas, Mario and Luigi flee. They hide behind a support and Luigi notices that the fungus appears to be offering them a Bob-omb. Mario pulls him away before he can take it, though, and the two escape using a zipline-like contraption. Two Goombas attempt to blast them with flamethrowers, but fail to hit them. The brothers then enter the police garage, where they steal a police car. Although Mario struggles to turn it on, Luigi successfully operates the computer as a result of playing video games, and they drive off with two other police cars in pursuit. After a short chase, Mario tricks the officers into crashing into each other, killing the police officers. The two brothers celebrate their victory and enter a tunnel leading to the Koopahari Desert. The computer warns them that the tunnel is unfinished, but the car leaves the city's power grid and powers down before they can brake. The car propels out of the tunnel and nearly crashes into the rocks below but is caught by the fungus, allowing them to climb out and escape into the desert.
Back at his tower, Koopa and Lena are enjoying a mud bath together when Iggy and Spike hurry into the room. Apologizing for interrupting, they report on the location of Mario and Luigi, and Koopa tells them to go capture them. He then orders Lena to have Daisy cleaned and brought to him. She does so, bursting into the prison cell where the women are being held. She identifies Daisy as, "Princess Daisy," prompting surprised looks from the other women, and leads her away.
Meanwhile, Iggy bids farewell to a nervous Spike, who is locked into the de-evolution machine. On Koopa's signal, the machine is flipped from "de-evolve" to "evolve," resulting in a more intelligent Spike. Two nearby workers pull Spike from the chair and force in Iggy, who is unaware he is also going to be evolved. The two cousins, now intelligent, are ordered by Koopa to retrieve Mario and Luigi and the meteorite shard from the desert, or be personally killed.
Daisy prepares to meet Koopa, now wearing a purple dress that belonged to her mother. Lena then enters the room and tells Daisy more about her mother, telling her that she took Daisy to the other dimension before she was "born," then died. Daisy asks if her father is alive, but she doesn't reveal anything. Lena then states that Koopa thinks she is the only one with the ability to merge the dimensions, and that she isn't ready to let her efforts go to waste.
Meanwhile, Mario and Luigi wander in the desert lost, arguing over who is to blame for their situation. At his tower, Koopa discusses the Goomba's Devolution Gun training with the police chief until Lena enters, announcing Daisy is ready. Daisy waits nervously in another room lit with candles and a fire, with Yoshi, a dinosaur resembling a velociraptor walking about the room, chained by its neck. He curiously observes Daisy, who is initially frightened, then fascinated. Koopa, who had walked in seconds earlier, then surprises her by speaking and confirming that Yoshi truly is a dinosaur. He remains cool, introducing himself as ruler of this dimension. He ignores Daisy's demands about the whereabouts of her father, instead flirting while confirming that Daisy also descended from the dinosaurs. Koopa's face then begins to show lizard-like features again, which scares Daisy. She runs from Koopa and into Toad, whom Koopa instructs to take her away.
The Marios fight back
Back in the desert, Iggy and Spike locate Mario and Luigi, driving a small, six-wheeled vehicle towards them. They accidentally drive off a cliff, attracting the attention of the Mario Bros. Quickly, the brothers tie them up, demanding information. They reveal the purpose of Daisy's necklace and Koopa's plan with it. Luigi offers a trade: the meteorite shard in exchange for Daisy. Iggy and Spike agree and, based off of Luigi's description of Big Bertha, head to the Boom Boom Bar.
At Koopa's Tower, Daisy is looking out the window, but turns her attention to Yoshi when she sees him trying to bite his chain in two, and offers the dinosaur sympathy. Back in the desert, the Marios, along with Iggy and Spike, notice a garbage truck, which is unloading the trash in the middle of the desert. They knock out the garbage men, hijack the truck, and drive back into the city.
At the Boom Boom Bar, Mario and Luigi don Spike's ex-wife's dance clothes to fit into the dance club. Once inside, Mario and Luigi attempt to locate Big Bertha. Iggy and Spike head to the bar, ordering drinks as a toast to Koopa's downfall. Mario finds and confronts Big Bertha, attempting to seduce her, but resulting with a punch in the face. Mario then walks over to her again, trying reverse psychology this time, and Big Bertha demands he dance with her, during which he attempts to snatch Daisy's necklace back. He finally does so, just as the song ends, but Lena and a squad of Goombas arrive after having been tipped off by the coat check. Mario and Luigi attempt escape, but lose the necklace, saved from falling into a floor vent by Lena, in the process before being aided by Big Bertha. She lends them each a pair of Thwomp Stompers, instructing them on their use. They then escape through the roof, and, while they are moving, Luigi notices that the fungus is once again trying to give them a Bob-omb. The brothers then continue running from Goombas, only to be cornered on a catwalk by cops, but escape by jumping into the back of a moving garbage truck. Mario complains that it is impossible for them to enter the tower, but Luigi insists that nothing is impossible, only improbable.
Back at Koopa's tower, the president enters a chamber filled with a type of fungus, a portion of which retreats into a larger section when Koopa enters. He then engages in small-talk with the fungus, eventually leading to him stating that, once the dimensions are merged, all of its rebellion is going to have been in vain.
The garbage truck then dumps its load, Mario and Luigi included, outside Koopa's tower. Entering, they observe the badly-maintained heating pipes that serve the tower. Under Mario's instruction, Luigi begins blocking off all of the valves. An alarm is set off, forcing them to leave quickly. As they head for the elevator, Mario stops at a locker, opens it, and pulls out two mechanics' uniforms (which look like the clothes that Mario and Luigi wear in the video games). As the two celebrate in the elevator, the door opens and two Goombas enter. They manage to hide behind the oblivious Goombas, and as the elevator continues upwards, more and more Goombas enter, all unaware of the Marios.
Meanwhile, Lena, secretly in possession of the meteorite piece, has returned to the tower with Iggy and Spike as her prisoners. She reports to Koopa that they were preaching his overthrow, to which Koopa orders them killed. He walks off, followed by Lena. She attempts to tell him she has the necklace, as well as tell him to not use Daisy, feeling he only cares for her, but he ignores her out of anger, and mentions that the only thing he truly cares about is the future of his species. Lena then privately decides to work on her own.
Back in the elevator, Luigi gets an idea from the elevator music. Gently rocking each of the Goombas individually, he begins making the Goombas dance, distracting them. At the top of the tower, Toad enters the chamber Daisy is held in, offering her some dinner, though she replies that she is a vegetarian, and requests some steamed vegetables. Lena then enters the chamber. Daisy asks her if she would help her escape, though Lena replies by pulling a knife in an attempt to kill her, her reason being that, "everyone deserves what they've earned." Yoshi uses his long tongue to pull Lena over, allowing Daisy to escape through the open door. However, Lena then stabs Yoshi and chases after her.
In the hall, Daisy runs into Toad, carrying her plate of steamed vegetables, and runs away from him before encountering two Goombas escorting Iggy and Spike for execution. They beg for her help as the Goombas pull out flamethrowers, and ignite Toad. Iggy, Spike, and Daisy escape, though she takes the fire extinguisher off the wall and puts out Toad. As the trio continue their escape, Iggy and Spike claim that they were her most loyal supporters, having been with her father since his demise. They take her to Devo 4, the chamber in which her father, as a fungal mass, is kept and leave her alone to take it all in.
As Mario and Luigi make their way to Daisy, they encounter a seemingly bottomless pit. Luigi tries to jump across, and both brothers are surprised when he finds he is suspended in midair. Eventually, he is able to convince Mario to jump as well; however, Luigi finds out that his belt was caught by a hook attached to a rope, and tries to tell Mario, but it is too late. Mario begins the plummet to his doom, only to be saved by the fungus below, which creates a trampoline for him. Luigi then fails to grab Mario's hands, due to being caught off guard. Mario then falls back down and gets tramped up again, this time being caught by Luigi and the two escape the room.
As Daisy is taking in the sight of her father, Yoshi enters the room. Daisy runs over to him, notices the knife in his neck, and pulls it out. The dinosaur then directs her attention to a special gun, which she uses to activate a speaker. Mario and Luigi, having heard Daisy over the speakers, then find a grate. Daisy then tells the brothers her location, Devo 4, before they knock the grate in, unaware that Koopa is watching. Walking through the air ducts, Luigi notices that the fungus is trying to communicate, and picks the mushroom, but Mario is still unconvinced.
The police chief then contacts Koopa to alert him that, per instructions, the troops were in place for the invasion of Earth. Koopa, surprised, then questions who supplied the order, to which the chief explains that he did, according to Lena. Realizing Lena possesses the meteorite piece, he demands her arrest. In Devo 4, Daisy meets up with Mario and Luigi and introduces them to her father. Luigi then realizes and tells Mario that he was the fungus that has been helping them the entire time. Daisy then reminds Mario of Daniella and tells him that she is being held prisoner in the Goomba barracks. Mario quickly dashes away to save her. However, Luigi and Daisy run straight into Koopa and an entourage of Goombas and are immediately captured.
Immediately after capturing Luigi and Daisy, Koopa orders preparations for the invasion of Earth. Meanwhile, Lena attempts her escape, but is ambushed and caught by the police chief, who takes the meteorite shard from her. In the tower, Mario locates the Goomba barracks and defeats the Goombas inside, saving Daniella and the rest of the missing Brooklyn girls. He hastily barricades the door just as more Goombas attempt to enter, then sets to work on the ventilation shaft.
The police chief presents the meteorite shard to Koopa, who orders Lena's release and begins rallying the Goombas. At the barracks, several Goombas blow the door open with flamethrowers, but are greeted by an empty room. They realize that the women had escaped with Mario by riding on a mattress down the frozen pipe, and they do the same in pursuit. Mario and the girls then duck under some icicles, which one of the Goombas hits, knocking him off the mattress. The chase continues until Mario leaves a wrench in a hole, causing the Goombas's mattress to flip over and its passengers to fly off. Mario and the girls then notice the exit of the air vent, with the two Goombas still following them, one on top of the other. The remaining mattress and its passengers fly out of the shaft, while the Goombas stop short. Their crash landing distracts Koopa and allows Luigi and Daisy to join Mario's side.
Koopa approaches them with a flamethrower, declaring that he has won and Earth's humans are soon about to de-evolve. Several announcements then come through his communicator, distracting him. This allows Luigi to grab a Banzai Bill from a broken shop display and hand it to Mario. Mario inserts it into a Thwomp Stomper from the shop, then activates the shoe. It flies into Koopa and knocks him into an empty vat located over the street. However, Koopa quickly recovers and starts to fire his flamethrower. Using some fungus, Mario swings onto the vat, climbs up it, and begins fighting Koopa, hitting him from above and causing Koopa to drop the meteorite shard, which he held in his mouth, to the ground below. Lena catches it, but falls off the ledge and onto some electrical wiring. However, Mario tricks Koopa into believing he has the shard, and he is attacked. Lena then runs off to the meteorite chamber to merge the dimensions. Luigi, Daisy, and the other girls run after her, hoping to stop her while Mario and Koopa continue to fight, Koopa being unaware that Lena has the shard.
Merging the dimensions
Luigi and Daisy enter the chamber, just in time to see Lena about to insert the shard into the meteor. Daisy begs her to stop, but she continues with her progress anyway. Koopa and Mario continue their fight on a catwalk. Looking into his belt, Mario pulls out the Bob-omb, prompting mass panic on the surrounding streets and walkways. Realizing the power the object possesses, Mario winds the Bob-omb's key and places it onto the ground, where it begins walking towards a panicking Koopa. However, it falls through a crack. Unaware of its continuing progress, Mario gives up on the Bob-omb and the two enemies approach each other menacingly. As the girls escape through the rock wall, Lena inserts the shard completely. The resulting energy burst kills her, leaving behind a skeleton with hair. Daisy then realizes that Koopa was correct; only she could merge the dimensions, because only she could withstand the energies the meteorite would create. Back on the street, Koopa and Mario start to disappear as the dimensions merge and Koopa begins to laugh maniacally. Daisy and Luigi begin to work together to pull out the shard, using an assortment of Mario's tools.
In Brooklyn, Daniella and the other women warn those at the dig site about the coming invasion. Daniella then notes that the World Trade Center has merged with Koopa's tower. Scapelli is there, yet believes the whole thing is a hoax for publicity. Mario, Koopa, and his legion of Goombas appear next as Koopa attempts unsuccessfully to hit Mario with his fire gun, which is broken again. Casting it aside, Koopa takes a de-evolution gun from a Goomba and fires it at Mario, who dodges, allowing the beam to instead hit Scapelli, de-evolving him into a chimpanzee. Koopa then turns to de-evolve Mario, but the latter pulls out the mushroom Luigi grabbed and uses it to absorb the beam. The mushroom becomes larger and larger, eventually to the point where Mario uses it to knock the ray gun out of Koopa's hands. Meanwhile, Luigi and Daisy manage to remove the shard from the meteor, causing the two dimensions to separate once more.
Meanwhile, the Bob-omb Mario dropped earlier is walking around the lower section of the city. A citizen driving a car notices the tiny object and stops the car, trying and succeeding in not hitting the Bob-omb. Up on the catwalk, Toad gives Luigi and Daisy each a de-evolution gun. Koopa orders his Goombas to de-evolve Mario, but Toad distracts them with his harmonica. They begin dancing as they did in the elevator. As Luigi and Daisy pass, Big Bertha throws Luigi a pair of Thwomp Stompers. Koopa, enraged at both the failure of his plans and the Goombas' failure to comply to his orders, angrily yells "Stupid!" and punches them down dominoes-style. As the Bob-omb continues its trek, Koopa turns his attention to Luigi, who flies on over by using the Thwomp Stompers. Koopa fires at him using his fire gun, but misses, allowing Luigi to land next to his brother and hand him a de-evolution gun. As the Bob-omb walks below Koopa, the brothers begin de-evolving him into a fierce, dinosaur-like form. The Bob-omb then finally reaches Koopa, exploding from beneath him, causing him to shoot into the air and land in the empty vat above the street. Mario, Luigi, and the city's inhabitants watch the container in silence. Suddenly, Koopa, having been de-evolved into a Tyrannosaurus rex, emerges with a roar. After initially panicking, the brothers aim the guns and fire once more, de-evolving Koopa into another dinosaur, then back into a T-rex. Koopa then climbs out of the vat as he's de-evolved into a blob of primordial ooze. Immediately, all of Dinohattan cheers at the defeat of their dictator.
Stepping onto Luigi's stompers, the brothers wave and flash a victory sign to the crowd as they jump over to Daisy, who embraces them. Meanwhile in Devo 4, Daisy's father transforms back into a human from his fungus form.
The three of them enter the meteorite chamber, prepared to leave for home. Unfortunately, the wall is now sealed, prompting Daisy to re-open it by reusing the power of the shard. Luigi then beckons her to join them, but she sadly tells him she must stay to help rebuild Dinohattan and get to know her father. With an intimate kiss, they part ways.
Three weeks later, Daniella has now moved into the brothers' apartment and is preparing dinner for them. Just as Luigi stands up to join them, Our Miraculous World comes on with the host discussing the Mario brothers, whom he calls the "Super Mario Brothers.", having saved both Earth and the parallel dimension. Someone knocks on the door, Mario stating that it is open, and it bursts open to reveal Daisy, wearing torn military clothes and wielding a flamethrower, asking Mario and Luigi for help. The two strap on their tool belts, prepared to leave.
In a post-credits scene, two Japanese businessmen comment to someone that they have a proposal: to make a video game based on their many adventures; they are then asked for the game's name. The camera pans to reveal Iggy and Spike, who suggest "Iggy's World" and "The Indomitable Spike," respectively, but then agree upon "The Super Koopa Cousins."
Film producer Roland Joffé visited Nintendo of America’s headquarters in 1991, and pitched his concept for a Super Mario Bros. film to then-president Minoru Arakawa, after the idea was originally decided upon during a script meeting at Lightmotive Studios. Nintendo had already received several offers for a Super Mario movie, but Arakawa was interested by Joffé’s pitch, and the producer later flew to Nintendo's headquarters in Kyoto to present his pitch directly to Hiroshi Yamauchi. Joffé pitched the film as a prequel to the game, described by him in his pitch as "'a food chain game — it tells us we’re all just somebody else’s dinner.'" Nintendo later agreed to sell Joffé and Jake Eberts the rights to produce a Super Mario Bros. film for $2 million, while Nintendo would retain merchandising rights. Other than imposing a deadline on production, Nintendo exerted little creative control over the project; Joffé would later speculate that Nintendo was mostly interested in seeing if a big-budget movie would have any impact on the Mario brand.
Joffé initially met with Harold Ramis to direct the film, who took the meeting as a fan of the Super Mario Bros. game, but he declined the offer. Joffé then chose Greg Beeman to be the director, but, after losing faith in him, replaced him with duo Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, best known for Max Headroom. Morton hated the script they were sent after reading it, but saw potential in the concept, and thought of the idea of the dinosaurs living in a parallel universe rather than going extinct, which Mario and Luigi happen to discover.
Dustin Hoffman, looking to impress his kids, was the first to offer to play the role of Mario, but was let down by Bill White, who handled Nintendo of America's promotions at the time, as Nintendo wanted Danny DeVito to direct and play Mario. However, DeVito wanted to read the script before signing on, and ultimately declined in order to focus on his movie Hoffa. Tom Hanks later agreed to play lead role for $5 million, which the studio decided was too much, and instead chose Bob Hoskins to be Mario, believing he would be more profitable. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Keaton were both offered to play King Koopa but turned the role down.
A treatment for the script was done by Barry Morrow, but was turned down as it was seen as too dramatic. The job was then handed to Jim Jennewein and Tom S. Parker, who wrote a light-hearted fantasy tale comparatively closer to the source material. However, after the departure of Greg Beeman, the script went through multiple rewrites and revisions, each adding increasingly "darker" content and science-fiction elements. Both the new directing team and Roland Joffé wanted a more adult-oriented production, justifying this direction by stating that Super Mario Bros. appealed to many demographics besides children. A satirical, Mad Max-inspired script impressed the directors and actors Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper, and Fiona Shaw, but was revised after receiving concerns from the studio that the film was straying too far from the family-friendly license. Ed Solomon, one of the writers for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, was brought in to make further revisions, and despite production being well underway the directors were forbidden from working with him. Director Rocky Morton has since defended the film's more dark direction and departure from the games, stating his intention for the movie was that it would be the "real story", while the Super Mario Bros. game was an unfaithful retelling after the Japanese had heard the story.
There were frequent conflicts between the directors and the rest of the staff. Most of the film crew disliked Morton and Jankel, referring to them with nicknames such as "Rocky and Annabel, the Flying Squirrel Show". Furthermore, the script was rewritten and revised on a daily basis even after filming had begun, making the lead actors feel apathetic toward the shoot. Filming was originally scheduled to last ten weeks, but due to these issues ended up going for fifteen. The directors were shut out of the production after most of the main scenes were filmed, and other production companies were brought in to complete the late and overbudget shoot. Morton and Jankel were able to get back into the production during editing with help from the Directors Guild of America, and wanted the movie cut digitally, but the editors insisted on using Moviola and Steenbeck, leading to a slow editing process.
A featurette of the development of the film was also made, called The Making of... Super Mario Bros.. It describes in detail the production of the movie, with behind-the-scenes interviews with much of the key cast and production staff. A book about the film's production was released the same year titled From Microchips to Moviestars: The Making of Super Mario Bros.
At release, Super Mario Bros. received mostly mixed reviews from critics that praised the acting, set design and special effects while criticizing the writing and directing. The film currently maintains an average review score of 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, with 30 out of 35 reviews being negative, their consensus stating that, "Despite flashy sets and special effects, Super Mario Bros. is too light on story and substance to be anything more than a novelty." Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert, on their program Siskel & Ebert At the Movies, gave the film two thumbs down; while they praised the film for its special effects work, their complaints were mostly about the indecision of the movie being aimed for children or adults. The film also made their list of the worst movies of 1993. The film is estimated to have grossed $20,915,465 domestically, under half of the estimated $48 million budget.
Bob Hoskins was particularly praised for his performance as Mario. Dennis Hopper's performance was praised as well, causing him to land villainous roles for more successful films. John Leguizamo's and Samantha Mathis's performances helped kick them off into more successful productions. The film was also nominated for two Saturn Awards, one being for Best Costume and the other for Best Make-up.
In a 2007 interview with The Guardian, Bob Hoskins stated that Super Mario Bros. was "the worst thing I ever did", and was especially critical of the directors, whom he thought of as arrogant. In a later interview with The Guardian, Hoskins answered with the film when asked, "What is the worst job you've done?", "What has been your biggest disappointment?", and, "If you could edit your past, what would you change?" Dennis Hopper, when asked about his time on set, echoed Hoskins's statement, and stated that he did not like working on Super Mario Bros., despite enjoying his time on Waterworld, a film notorious for its troubled production. John Leguizamo also expressed a dislike of his role, writing in his 2006 autobiography Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, And All the Rest of My Hollywood Friends: My Life, "Oh man [Super Mario Bros.] sucks. And I suck in it." Both Leguizamo and Hoskins have also mentioned that they were constantly drunk during filming to make the experience easier on themselves; this included a scene in which Leguizamo drove a vehicle. However, Leguizamo would reflect on the film more positively when recording a 20th anniversary message. The opinions of various background staff on the overall production were also more positive. Director Rocky Morton has also said that the movie's production was "a harrowing experience", but that he is proud that the film is still remembered and discussed among fans.
Mario's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, stated, "[In] the end, it was a very fun project that they put a lot of effort into," but also said, "The one thing that I still have some regrets about is that the movie may have tried to get a little too close to what the Mario Bros. video games were. And in that sense, it became a movie that was about a video game, rather than being an entertaining movie in and of itself."
In a 2017 interview, Reggie Fils-Aimé, discussing Nintendo's recent collaborations and partnerships, stated that the film "left a really bad taste in the mouth of our developers," commenting that Nintendo's lack of creative control over the project was what resulted in its failure, a sentiment that Illumination founder Chris Meledandri agreed with in a 2018 Variety news article.
A webcomic sequel, written by Steven Applebaum and Ryan Hoss and illustrated by Eryk Donovan, is currently being written and published under the name Super Mario Bros. 2. The film's surviving original writer, Parker Bennett, helped outline the webcomic's storyline, making it canonical to the film and finally revealing what would have been a sequel film. The comic is loosely based on the American Super Mario Bros. 2, directly following the end of the original film, and features Mario and Luigi trying to stop the game's villain Wart from taking over the parallel world. It can be read here.
References to the games
Though the story is only loosely inspired by the games, the movie includes many in-jokes and references relating to the games. Some can only be caught in a frame-by-frame viewing, such as the presence of Shigeru Miyamoto in the crowd. The following is a list of some of these references:
Subsequent Mario film
Names in other languages