Dennis Hopper with a Deevolution Machine — What Could Go Wrong?

The curse of videogame movies goes far beyond the horror of Uwe "Bloodreign" Boll's oeuvre. The Super Mario Bros. movie, made in the early 1990s and starring the most unlikely Bros ever: Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo. The filmmakers took a lot of liberties in adapting the videogame, creating a parallel Earth where dinosaurs evolved into intelligent beings but resources are scarce, germs are rampant, and King Koopa (Dennis Hopper) controls everybody with his de-evolution machine. This is a great clip of the machine in action.

The wily plumber Bros. have accidentally gotten into the dinosaur world, and are trying to rescue Luigi's love interest Daisy — who, it turns out, is actually the princess of dinosaur town. Evil Koopa has taken over by de-evolving the good king into a primordial sludge, whose icky strands blanket the dinosaur city. Now Koopa wants to break through the dimensional doorway to Earth, so he can have all the resources of our lovely, primate-run world.


The movie is as cheesy as you can imagine, and yet I love it for its bizarre inventiveness in the face of orders that must have been something like: "Make a movie about guys who jump up and down in a mushroom world." The concept design is superlative, with the slime-covered, polluted dinosaur city looking cool and cartoony at once. Plus: these are real actors, people. Say what you want about the unbelievably silly premise, but Hopper, Hoskins, and Leguizamo know how to make the best of it. Need something cute and unbelievably strange to watch tonight? Super Mario Bros. might be the ticket.

Super Mario Bros.


Annalee Newitz

@Dunny0: Really? She was his love interest? I thought she had been raised as their sister.