Just about every video game movie is terrible. But the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. starring Bob Hoskins is so wholly, brain-bleedingly bad that it somehow manages to loop back around and become kind of a joy to watch. Who possibly thought it was a good idea to turn the Mario kingdom into a cyber-punk wasteland covered in fungus? Why is Dennis Hopper playing King Koopa like he's a bizarro gangster sporting a Gene Simmons tongue? Why is Dennis Hopper in this movie at all? Seriously, just go watch the thing. It is way more fucked up than you could possibly remember.
Sadly, we never got to see the clusterfuck of a sequel that the 1993 film promised. But now, 25 years later, it looks like Mario and Luigi are finally headed back to the big screen.
According to a new report from Variety, Illumination—the film studio behind Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets—are hard at work on a new, animated version of Super Mario Bros.
"I like that this was not done well the first time," Illumination founder Chris Meledandri told Variety of the Bob Hoskins version. “I think that’s more exciting or more worthy than simply making another version of a film that was done incredibly well to begin with."
Sure, making a better movie than the original Mario isn't exactly a herculean task, but Meledandri apparently has a trick up his sleeve to make sure Illumination can pull it off: Shigeru Miyamoto, the guy who created Mario in the first place.
“We are keeping [Miyamoto] front and center in the creation of this film,” Meledandri told Variety. "I’ve rarely seen that happen with any adaptation where the original creative voice is being embraced like we’re embracing Miyamoto. There’s a history in Hollywood of people believing that they know better than the people responsible for a property. I’ve made that mistake before."
The movie is reportedly in "priority development" and tentatively on track to hit theaters sometime in 2022.
"It’s an ambitious task," Meledandri said of the project. "The challenge is taking things that are so thin in their original form and finding depth that doesn’t compromise what generations of fans love about Mario, but also feels organic to the iconography and can support a three-act structure."
It's unclear how Meledandri, Miyamoto, and the rest of Illumnation plan to expand on Mario's honestly pretty dark storyline, but hopefully it will involve Mario squishing a few Minions like Goombas at some point.
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