The Making of... Super Mario Bros.

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Title to The Making of... Super Mario Bros. documentary.
The title.

The Making Of… Super Mario Bros. is a short, promotional featurette created by Lightmotive and Allied Film Makers outlining the set design, special effects, and story behind the film. It also included interviews with the cast, who at the time were very supportive overall of the film. Several of the major cast members would go on to insult the film years after its release. Many statements regarding the quality of the film were both rebuffed and corroborated by film critics upon the film's release.


The featurette opens by showing the companies' logos set to the Super Mario Bros. video game overworld theme. A narrator introduces the film, outlining the basic plot: two plumbers fight against evil to save a princess and the "entire universe." The narrator also claims the movie is the "fastest, most thrilling multimillion dollar adventure of the decade." Between and alongside interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and scenes from the final movie are shown.

Bob Hoskins talking about his role as Mario in Super Mario Bros.
Bob Hoskins talks about his role.

After a montage of behind-the-scenes images, the documentary cuts to Bob Hoskins, who played Mario. He explains that this role is a departure for him; he used to perform William Shakespeare plays while wearing tights, but now he was playing a video game character who bounces up and down.

Next, producers Roland Joff and Jake Eberts, who previously worked on the "critically acclaimed" films The Killing Fields and The Mission, were introduced. Joff explained the process of adapting the video game to a motion picture. The duo started by considering what Mario and Luigi meant, and from there went into the world they inhabit and finally into who would inhabit that world. Eberts notes the "tremendously rich tapestry" of characters from the video game and states that the trick was making them come to life and integrating them into a story that made some sense.

Bob Hoskins explains the relationship between Mario and Luigi as established by the film. Mario is Luigi's much older brother. After both their mother and father died, Mario brought up the orphaned Luigi both as a much younger brother and as a friend. They have always been best friends. John Leguizamo, who portrays Luigi, explains that the brothers came from a long line of plumbers. Two average people living in Brooklyn, their lives changed when they performed a heroic act.

Directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, creators of Max Headroom, were interviewed next. Morton states that their first creative decision regarded the back story, after which the pieces of the story all seemed to fit into place. Inspired by dinosaurs and their extinction, they designed the film around the theory that a meteor caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. Jankel explains that the story is based about the extinction theme. From there they developed the idea that the punishment in the dinosaurs' world would be regression to ones prehistoric ancestors, back as much as two hundred million years of evolution. In the film, this process is referred to as de-evolution.

Dinohattan set.
The movie set of Dinohattan.

Dinohattan is presented as similar to New York, but in a different time dimension. Production designer David Snyder explains that the humans in Dinohattan evolved from reptiles while the humans in Mario and Luigi's parallel world evolved into humans from mammals. Both human species have similar characteristics, but the evolved dinosaurs are much more aggressive and carnivorous. However, this is not due to bad spirits, but rather because people in their dimension like it that way. The narrator notes the love of partying found in both species, as seen in the Boom Boom Night Club, where partygoers can be seen "doing the dinosaur."

The narrator advertises the film's soundtrack as having the biggest names in popular music, including Marky Mark, Extreme, Charles & Eddie, Joe Satriani, Megadeth, Queen, and the Divinyls.

Moving onto the set design, the narrator outlines the use of a closed down, five story cement factory in Wilmington, previously used by the Ideal Cement Company. According to the narrator, the factory reinforced the production team's motto that "Creativity is transforming what is into what might be." David Snyder and his team began by considering the existing structures by developing what he called an as-built conditions drawing and then designed an overlay that considered how they would fit all of the sets required for the movie into their structure.

The narrator gave several building statistics: overall, more than one and a half miles of plywood, sixty-two miles of lumber, and one hundred fifty tons of steal went into the sets for the film. Koopa Square, the center of Dinohattan, took advantage of the factory's multileveled ramps, conveyors, and catwalks.

Next, the narrator claims that at the Boom Boom Bar, Roxette are performing "Almost Unreal", their then-latest single from the Super Mario Bros. soundtrack. The documentary cuts to the version of the "Almost Unreal" music video that features clips and references from the film. Once the video has played to completion, the documentary continues.

Dennis Hopper appeared next, stating that he played, "King Koopa, the Lizard King." Samantha Mathis introduced her character, Princess Daisy. She claims that working on the set requires very little acting because everything around her looks so real. Fisher Stevens and Richard Edson appeared next. Edson initially claimed to play Spike, but after being corrected by Stevens, the duo correctly identifies Stevens as Spike and Edson as Iggy. Finally, Fiona Shaw introduced herself as the actress playing Lena and offered insights into the character. According to her, Lena is the villainess and love of Koopa's life. She cannot bear Koopa's affections for the "young, beautiful, and annoying" Daisy. Samantha Mathis believes that Lena is jealous of Daisy.

Chris Francis Woods, the visual effects supervisor, is introduced. According to the narration, many of the visual effects he implemented in the film were previously unseen in film. Woods explains that, while the computer programs make these new effects possible, it is the traditional film artists who make it possible.

John Fifer, the designer of the Goombas, remembers that the inanimate bits of steel and plastic that made up his creations became almost their own people the day he and his team finished work on the Goombas' facial movement. Yoshi required nine puppeteers to operate and was capable of sixty-four separate movements. Thirty-five engineers were responsible for the props, including the de-evolution gun, electric cars, stompers, and one hundred foot long ice tunnel.

John Leguizamo discusses Mario. He calls him cool and heroic, saying "you should get to know him." Dana Kaminski introduces herself as the actress who plays Daniella, Mario's girlfriend and fiancée. Daniella, she claims, is attracted to Mario's old world family values. The actresses playing the Brooklyn girls and Angelica, in character, celebrate Mario's lovable personality, while Fiona Shaw, also in character as Lena, belittles his romanticism, calling it earthbound. But, she admits, he is cute. Stevens and Edson discuss Iggy and Spike's relationship with Koopa, but are cut off as the scene where the characters insult Koopa as a cruel dictator. A variety of the cast members then discuss what Koopa would do on his day off. Shaw explains that he goes bathing. Hoskins supposes that he would de-evolve people. Desireé Marie Valez, the actress who played Angelica, explains that he would do what he does on the job: chase women. Kaminski comments that Koopa is very evil. After the narrator concludes the documentary and leads into the next, Valez turns to the actresses who play the Brooklyn girls and tell them not to tell the off-screen interviewer anything more. If someone wants to know more, she argues, they should come see the movie. One of the other actresses invites the audience, "Yeah, come see us!"