After rewatching the surreal and bizarre 1993 ‘Super Mario Bros.’ movie where Yoshi gets stabbed and Goombas are humanoid dinosaurs, I can’t suggest it enough

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Throw away whatever you thought you knew about Goombas.

In 1993, the first-ever major film adaptation of a video game hit theaters: „Super Mario Bros.”
In 2022, a new „Super Mario Bros.” movie starring Chris Pratt as Mario is scheduled to arrive.
Rewatching the original for the first time in decades is a stunning reminder of how bizarre the film was.
Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

As a 36-year-old and a lifelong video game fan, I saw the original „Super Mario Bros.” movie when it came out in 1993. I haven’t sat down to watch it in full in literal decades.

The most current „Super Mario” game in 1990 was „Super Mario World” for the Super Nintendo, which launched in 1990.

If you’ve never seen it or, like me, had simply forgotten, the „Super Mario Bros.” movie is the story of two plumber brothers named „Mario Mario” and „Luigi Mario.” But these are almost nothing like the Mario brothers you know from the games.

At no point in the film does Bob Hoskins say, „It’s-a me, Mario!”

They live in a version of early ’90s Brooklyn where Italian-American red sauce restaurants littered the streets of Williamsburg.

Yes, there is an accordion player and a violin player serenading Mario and his girlfriend. Early in the film, Mario and his girlfriend go on a double date with Luigi and Princess Daisy.

Together, they operate the „Mario Bros. Plumbing Service.” Though the concept of Mario and Luigi as plumbers was rapidly fading by 1993, the „Super Mario Bros.” movie took the concept of Mario and Luigi as plumbers and ran with it.

The brothers’ plumbing acumen is a central plot point for the film, and repeatedly enables them to overcome conflict.

Rather than focusing on Mario, „Super Mario Bros.” largely focuses on Luigi’s budding relationship with a woman named Daisy.

Daisy is played by Samantha Mathis.

Notably, Princess Daisy is the princess featured in „Super Mario Land” for the Nintendo Game Boy.

The central thesis of the „Super Mario Bros.” movie is that a meteorite hit Brooklyn 65 million years ago and, instead of vaporizing the dinosaurs, it actually caused a dimensional rift.

Here’s the first look of the alternate dimension where Mario and Luigi travel to in the „Super Mario Bros.” movie. It’s a sort of Mario-themed cyberpunk version of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.

On one side of the rift is Earth, where human beings descended from apes. On the other side is where Mario and Luigi end up – a world that’s unsurprisingly ruled by President Koopa, played by Dennis Hopper.

Unlike our reality, where human connection to our ape ancestors is tenuous at best, the Koopa world’s connection to dinosaurs is far more intimate – to the point where Dennis Hopper even stands like a dinosaur, with his arms perched, throughout the film.

There are also dinosaurs throughout the film, naturally.

You might be wondering what the connection to the dinosaur stuff is. Given that the most recent „Super Mario Bros.” game before the film was „Super Mario World” for the Super Nintendo, it appears that the theme was pulled from that game’s setting: Dinosaur Land.

„Super Mario World” was the first Super Mario game to feature Yoshi, an especially important inhabitant of Dinosaur Land.

„We knew the game [‘Super Mario World’] and we knew one of its areas was Dino World,” one of the film’s directors, Rocky Morton, reportedly told Dinosaur Magazine. „So we thought that it would be a great place to go into.” The alternate dimension of the film is known by fans as „Dinohattan.”

Little references to the game series are littered throughout the world of the film, including „Thwomp Stompers,” seen here.

The dinosaur theme gets stretched to some truly bizarre places, especially as the film attempts to integrate references to the video games. Goombas, for instance, become a de-evolved humanoid dinosaur creature.

And Yoshi, everyone’s favorite adorable little green creature, looks like something ripped from „Jurassic Park”:

There’s a good reason that this dinosaur looks like those in „Jurassic Park” – they came out the same year!

Beyond the foundational issues of the film’s relationship to the games, the movie is all over the place. Dialog and plot logic are a mess from scene to scene, and much of it feels like disconnected moments.

Why do Mario and Luigi put on these overalls, other than to reference the outfits of the characters in the game?

The fact that „Super Mario Bros.” is such a mess, though, is what makes it so enjoyable to watch. It’s a movie full of so many incomprehensible, baffling moments that you’ll start to wonder if it’s actually an elaborate social test.

You can tell this Goomba apart from the others because of his harmonica. Before he was turned into a Goomba, his name was „Toad” and he was a street musician singing about how bad President Koopa is. And yes, that is a reference to the character Toad from the game series.

Are there elaborate dance numbers? Yes. Does an adult woman stab Yoshi with a knife meant for stabbing? Yes. Is the bad guy’s main weapon a modified version of the Super Scope light gun peripheral for the Super Nintendo? You bet! Frankly, I can’t suggest it enough.

There’s even a lengthy chase scene where Mario and a group of women from Brooklyn ride a mattress down a pipe as a mattress of Goombas chases close behind. Note the woman still holding onto her cigarette.

Unfortunately, there are no easy ways to stream the film, and the only available copies are on DVD and Blu-ray. There is a fan-made „director’s cut” of the film available on the Internet Archive for free, and it’s got more scenes than the theatrical release.

If you really want to own a copy of the film, it’s available on DVD for around $4.

You can find the „director’s cut” of the film on Internet Archive. This isn’t the official director’s cut, but rather a fan-made cut of the film with found footage.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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