Super Mario Bros. (Lost Scenes of Video Game-Based Film; 1993)
Super Mario Bros. is a 1993 live-action film adaptation of the popular video game franchise. It was released by Disney, via their Hollywood Pictures brand. It was produced by Lightmotive in collaboration with Allied Filmmakers, directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel.
The film is notorious for being a bizarre adaption of a video game due to its audacious changes from its source material, sacrificing most of the game's assets to form its own coherent plot.
It is often viewed as one of the greatest examples of why video games make bad sources of adaptations for movies, but is also considered a cult classic to many, usually in a "so-bad-it's-good" way.
About the Production/Changes
Ideas for a movie based of the popular Nintendo game, Super Mario Bros., were floating around since May 1991. When LightMotive's head, Roland Joffé, pitched the first draft of the movie to Nintendo, they accepted the deal straight away.
For a while, no one wanted to do the "Wizard of Oz" version of the screenplay. Desperate to find a director, husband-and-wife directors Rocky and Annabel were brought in to help with the project. They poured all of their ideas in, which gave birth to a second and third draft of the script, both known for their dark settings and character development.
This third screenplay, Mad Max, was known for being very promising, and brought production designer David Snyder (of the Blade Runner fame) and actors Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper and Fionna Shaw, among many others.
Then Disney bought the rights of the film, and ordered several changes to the film, ranging from toning down extremely dark tones, to "dumbing down" characters immensively; many other writers were brought in to re-write the screenplay, and by the time production kicked in, they were still working on it.
Production on Super Mario Brothers went through what the movie industry calls development hell. It took way longer than it should have to film the movie, the directors got in way over their heads, and started paying more attention to the special effects than in the actors themselves. After years of struggle, the film was finally finished.
The original running time of the film was of 2 Hours and 10 minutes, but to keep it low, and to reduce the estimated PG-13 rating, it was cut by 30 minutes, losing many sub-plots, action scenes and character development in the process.
- The original Dinosaur prologue, which was cut and replaced by an animated intro, narrated by Dan Castellaneta.
- Extra shots of Koopa chasing Daisy's mother on the intro.
- The Mario Brothers at the Riverfront Café, where they find Scapelli plumbers, losing their job in the process.
- An alternate scene of Luigi meeting Daisy in the Riverfront Café. Daisy accidentally breaks all the dishes that were being carried by a waiter, but Luigi steps in and pays for the damages while assuming fault.
- Mario and Luigi preparing for their date. In this scene, it is mentioned that Daniella's full name is Daniella Pauline Verducci. There is also the Family Pride subplot.
- An alternate introduction for King Koopa. Not much is known about this scene.
- Many scenes involving the Missing Brooklyn Babes, one of them featured in the Making of the Super Mario Bros., where one of the girls offers a cigarette to a Goomba.
- Mario and Luigi discussing Family Pride, again, in the Prison Cell.
- One of the most notable scenes to be deleted from the film was the scene of who was transformed into slime in the De-vo Chamber. Many were chosen to be de-evolved, such as Toad, a Goomba, Simon, and one of the Technicians, but no one is certain about who exactly was de-evolved.
- A whole subplot involving Koopa's slow de-evolution throughout the film. This scene was better explored on earlier drafts of the film.
- A longer Car Chase scene. Not much is known about these scenes other than a few shots present on the trailer, ranging from reaction shots to cars crashing into one another.
- Iggy and Spike's rap on the Boom Boom Bar.
- Mario bouncing in the Fungus Trampoline while Luigi hangs by his belt on the hook in the Elevator Shaft. This scene was supposed to give closure to the Family Pride subplot.
- Alternate scenes of Lena handing Koopa the rock, only to have him later ditch her for Daisy because she is a Princess.
- An entire sequence featuring Mario getting chased by Goombas on Koopa's Tower, after Daisy tells him where Daniella is.
- After the Goombas break in the room where the Missing Brooklyn Babes were, a Goomba walks up to the pipe entrance, and from there it cuts to the Slide scene.
- Only referenced on the earlier screenplays, the climax of the film was supposed to be longer and much more complex. It was supposed to include dimensions merging, Goombas getting caught between walls and making them explode, buildings fusing with one another, and facing off with King Koopa on the Brooklyn Bridge in the middle of this chaos. He sets up the Bob-Omb, while Koopa would fully de-evolve into a Tyrannosaurus Rex/Human hybrid, grabing him by the neck, raising his head and roaring in victory, only to have the Bob-Omb fall in his mouth, blocking his throat, and making him fall off the Bridge, exploding in little bits once as he hit the water. It was, allegedly never shot due to budgetary issues.