Few video game movie adaptations have become as much of a punchline as 1993’s Super Mario Bros., a maelstrom of bad decisions involving fights on set, harried rewrites, drunken actors, and just a general lack of cinematic anything. Nintendo and Mario franchise creator Shigeru Miyamoto weren’t really involved in that production, but it’s clear that it was on everybody’s mind while pursuing the new animated film with Illumination, as revealed in a snippet from a lengthy Variety interview:
“We were fearful of all the failure of past IP adaptations, where there’s a license and a distance between the original creators and the creators of the films,” Miyamoto says, without specifically referencing the ’93 movie. “The fans get outraged and mad because the studios didn’t do justice to the original work. We really didn’t want a backlash.”
Rocky Morton, one of the co-directors of the ‘93 film, thinks this was also a core issue. “If I’d have had a relationship with Miyamoto and brought him onboard, if he had been a producer and he understood what we were doing, he wouldn’t have let certain things happen,” Morton says. “We would have been a team, and it would have been a different film.”
Would Miyamoto’s involvement have made it a good film? Hard to say, though it certainly would have at least been more faithful. The animated Super Mario Bros. Movie is out now.
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