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Super Mario Bros (1993)
Directors: Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton

review by Trudi Topham

A score of eight out of ten... Have I gone crazy? This is Super Mario Bros, one of the most reviled films of the 1990! Come on, though. Admit it. It's actually a lot of fun. Oh sure you wanna say no, you want to pretend you never even saw it, but secretly, deep down, you have a soft spot for it. Oh yes. You.

I mean, this could just be me. I never played the console game, I never saw the appeal of plumbers jumping on mushrooms, and I certainly didn't think helpless princesses in need of a rescue were a good thing. And apparently neither did Jankel or Morton, because from what I understand this film bears very little relation to the games whatsoever.

65 million years ago a meteorite struck the Earth, causing a second reality to spring up: a parallel universe in which it is dinosaurs who survive and evolve into bipedal humanoids, not mammals. Mario Mario (Bob Hoskins) and his hapless brother Luigi Mario (John Leguizamo) are plumbers - on our Earth - fighting for scraps of work left over by the big, mean plumbing corporations. Luigi's not even very good at it. Daisy (Samantha Mathis) is a student; working on an archaeological dig in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, under threat from the Scapelli Corporation, one of those big, mean plumbing businesses. Actually they seem to be into general construction work; plumbing's just a sideline so that they can steal the Mario's customers, or something.

Except, gasp, Daisy is actually a dinosaur-evolved human from the parallel world, Princess of her resources-starved planet. Koopa (Dennis Hopper) rules what's left of her world, and aims to use her and the piece of that original Earth-sundering meteorite that she wears to re-unite the two worlds and become ruler of both.

It's all terribly silly, but played with such verve and enthusiasm that I can't help but like it. There's some fabulous dialogue (Koopa's grousing about his late pizza), amazing attention to detail (the mattress-chase through the frozen pipes has one of the abducted girls relentlessly clinging to her cigarette throughout), and a surprisingly well-constructed plot without too many holes (other than everyone not plummeting to their deaths when they go back through to their own, mammalian Earth).

There are no DVD extras, other than a scene selection menu, which leaves your attention wholly focussed on enjoying this slice of 1990s' daftness. Show it to your kids if you need the excuse. Pretend you don't like it. Really, though, I know the truth.
Super Mario Bros

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