We've had movies derived from old radio and television programs, comic books and even board games (anyone remember "Clue"?), so why not from a video game?
Although, if the very expensive special-effects extravaganza "Super Mario Bros." is any indication, we probably won't be seeing "Legend of Zelda: The Movie" very soon.
Chaotic and confusing, this "Super Mario Bros." movie is not likely to hold the attention of 10-year-olds anywhere near as long as the video game does they'll likely get bored about halfway through. And the reason is simple enough there's no story.
The filmmakers here apparently felt it was enough to bombard the screen with dazzling visuals, leaving serious story gaps, scene changes without transitions and characters without any development to speak of.
Still, those visuals are quite striking, mostly filmed on a huge set that resembles both "Blade Runner" and "Total Recall." The weirdness meter on this one is about as high as it gets.
What little plot there is resembles (remotely) the video game, as two plumber brothers, Mario Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi Mario (John Leguizamo), find themselves in a parallel universe where their mission is to battle evil Koopa (Dennis Hopper) and save the princess (Samantha Mathis). (People in this world were descended from dinosaurs and there's a cutesy pet dinosaur among the characters here.)
Along the way they must take on giant Goombas huge guards with tiny lizard heads and a pair of bungling spies (Fisher Stevens, Richard Edson), who are sort of this film's Two Stooges. There's also Lena (Fiona Shaw), who is Koopa's girlfriend, and a helpful fungus with a mind of its own.
Hoskins and Hopper seem to be having fun and everyone in the cast gives it their all, but some scenes are so haphazardly directed it's hard to tell what's going on. There's also an irritating "goofy" music score, just in case we can't tell that this is supposed to be a comedy.
"Super Mario Bros." may attract hordes of kids in the first week or two but it's not likely to have staying power into the summer season. And parents who accompany their children will want to bring some asprin along.
The film is rated PG for violence and some mild vulgarity.
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