I know, I know. Video game movies are practically the scourge of gamers everywhere. That goes doubly so when talking about the Mario franchise. Everyone who recalls the live action film starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as the mustachioed plumbers have every right to be wary of a new film. It felt like the opposite of what Shigeru Miyamoto created with the original games. Luckily, it seems that Illumination Entertainment has the right idea for this latest attempt.
Nintendo announced back in 2016 that they would be getting themselves back into the movie industry. This led to Illumination Entertainment declaring that they were in charge of a brand new movie based on Super Mario Bros. Illumination CEO and founder Chris Meledandri stated the following:
It’s an ambitious task. 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.
Considering that Meledandri produced the popular Despicable Me franchise, it’s no surprise why his company was approached for an animated Super Mario Bros. movie. Despicable Me 3 and the spinoff Minions both broke $1 billion worldwide. Nintendo hopes to see that same level of success as well. At the very least, they hope to make people forget about the 1993 live-action attempt. Meledandri even made mention of this.
I like that this was not done well the first time. 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.
Announcing that Miyamoto will be working closely with the film is a smart move to appease fans. Nintendo is well aware of the mistakes they made when the original Super Mario Bros. film released. They have kept their properties close to the vest ever since. Now they feel ready to try again. Even someone as successful as Meledandri seems to have learned quite a bit.
“We are keeping him front and center in the creation of this film. 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.”
Whether or not you’re a fan of Despicable Me or Minions, you have to hand it to Meledandri for admitting past sins. There have been plenty of examples where Hollywood has stumbled with video game properties. It hasn’t been great recently, but certainly better than what we had in the ’90s. Hopefully this time the addition of Miyamoto will give Super Mario Bros. the classic Nintendo seal of quality.
David has been involved in games media since 2012 running his own blog, YouTube channel, being a founding member of RETRO Magazine, and now as host/producer of ARGcast – Another Retro Gaming Podcast. He also dabbles in voiceover and is occasionally a stunt double for Jude Law.