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Super Mario Bros.: The Movie – A 30th Anniversary 4K Revival

"Super Mario Bros." was released in theatres in 1993, becoming one of the most infamous flops in movie history.

In 1993, a live-action adaptation of Nintendo’s beloved video game franchise, “Super Mario Bros.,” hit theaters, becoming one of the most infamous flops in cinematic history. 

Starring Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leguizamo as Luigi, the film attempted to bring the whimsical world of Mario and his friends to the big screen. 

However, it failed to capture the games’ charm, grossing a mere $38.9 million while costing over $40 million to produce.

Animated Rebirth: The Franchise’s Phenomenal Success:

Fast forward to the present day, and the Super Mario Bros. franchise has experienced a spectacular revival, but this time in animated form. 

The film, featuring Chris Pratt as the voice of Mario, shattered box office records, raking in over $1.3 billion. 

This massive success highlights the enduring popularity of the Mario universe and underscores the live-action movie’s missed potential.

A Lavish Anniversary Treatment:

Surprisingly, despite its notorious reputation, Umbrella Home Entertainment has given the live-action “Super Mario Bros.” movie a special treatment for its 30th anniversary. 

This commemorative box set includes a 4K Ultra HD version of the film, spread across three discs and two Blu-rays. 

The package also offers behind-the-scenes books, film cells, posters, stickers, art cards, new audio commentary, and newly restored deleted scenes and trailers.

This lavish release starkly contrasts the movie’s original reception, where it was largely regarded as a laughing stock. 

While the 2023 animated adaptation is a testament to the Mario franchise’s success, the 1993 live-action version remains a perplexing misstep.

The Main Problem: Deviation from Source Material:

The primary issue with the live-action adaptation was its substantial departure from the source material. 

While the animated version faithfully captured the cheerful and colorful atmosphere of the games, the live-action iteration attempted to introduce unnecessary twists into the universe. 

It portrayed the Mario world as a dystopia, starkly contrasting the adventurous and fun Mushroom Kingdom fans were familiar with. 

Furthermore, the film fixated on Mario and Luigi’s profession as plumbers, which proved irrelevant and uninteresting in the context of the Mario universe.

Failure to Understand the Audience:

The live-action Mario film also struggled to connect with its audience. The animated version was a family-friendly, universally enjoyable film. 

While critics found its plot simplistic and predictable, it remained true to the world of the Super Mario games. 

Conversely, the live-action adaptation took a different approach, crafting a complex and confusing plot, ultimately neglecting the established Mario world.

Today, “Super Mario Bros.” is remembered for its outlandish storyline and an unexpected 4K reissue, which, despite the film’s initial reception, is a testament to the enduring appeal of the iconic video game franchise.

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