Considering its budget, the popularity of the franchise and its accomplished cast, 1993’s Super Mario Bros. is – relatively – surely the most disappointing video game movie of all time. Still, train wreck that it is, we can’t help but keep on looking at it, even after all these years.
And today we’re getting a real good look, with these never-before-seen photographs from the production’s filming, all taken by Makeup & Effects Laboratories, the guys responsible for the movie’s special effects.
The photos were recently acquired by fansite Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive. While they’re not “professional shots”, meaning they’re often blurry or obscured by glare, the fact they were taken by some MEL staffer, and not a paid outsider, means we get a more candid look behind the scenes of the movie than we may otherwise have been afforded.
Sadly, there are few shots of the movie’s top-shelf cast, which included the likes of multiple Academy Award nominee Dennis Hopper, Bob Hoskins and…John Leguizamo and…Samantha Mathis. What you get instead, however, are pictures of Koopa Troopas mixing drinks, wearing Mario moustaches and glimpses of the impressive animatronic rigs the actors had to wear to get those lizard heads moving around.
Indeed, accepting the movie was rubbish and looking back beyond that lets us appreciate things we may otherwise have overlooked, like those animatronics, which for the time were fairly impressive (especially on Yoshi).
Super Mario Bros. was released in 1993 and was a dismal failure, both in the eyes of critics and fans of the games. So you can imagine how everyone else found it. The flick maintained little from the successful Nintendo franchise bar the most basic of elements, swapping a fantasy kingdom out for a dark sci-fi future. If you’re up for a laugh, the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes listing is one of the worst you’ll ever see.
The gallery above shows a selection of the 100 or so photographs; Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive, linked below, has the entire thing, plus some interesting featurettes and other clips from the time of the movie’s release.