Two plumbers, Mario Mario and Luigi Mario, jump into a parallel dimension (The Mushroom Kingdom, where everyone has evolved from dinosaurs instead of monkeys) to save Luigi's girlfriend Daisy. But they will have to contend with King Koopa (Dennis Hopper!!), who rules the Mushroom Kingdom with an iron fist and has plans to merge his dimension with the human Earth, thus taking over the world!
There's not much that can be said about this movie. It's a dark movie for kids who like Mario and dinosaurs, so of course all the hip gamer adults hate this because Mario doesn't hit blocks for coins and doesn't jump on a flagpole at the end of each scene, his height on the pole determining how many points are added to his score. So yes, this movie has very little to to with the painstakingly detailed mythos of Super Mario Brothers and if you are looking for a 100 minute film about your memories of playing Super Mario Bros. when you were eight years old, you should probably watch the end of The Wizard instead.
But here in cave of newtmonkey I don't review movies based on how close they are to video games. I review movies based on how violent they are, or how much exploitative nudity there is. In other words, the ideas they contain and what they say about the human condition.
Super Mario Bros. is interesting because of how dark and crazy the dystopia ruled by Koopa is. There is mucous-like fungus growing over everything, and society is slowly being driven insane, possibly by genetic deterioration. There are no resources left so everything is dirty and awful and all the cars are hooked into some kind of electric grid. The entire planet except for one small city is a barren wasteland. People eat bug sandwiches. I could go on and on. It's a pretty well-developed world, much more developed anyway than any of the Super Mario Bros. games.
So this could have stood up there with Return to Oz and The Neverending Story and The Goonies as a classic dark fantasy for kids that we in our 30s would all be flipping out for all the time in fits of nostalgia, except for the fact that they paced it for the video game generation. Scenes last mere seconds, just long enough to build up a quip-worthy situation. Mario and Luigi's relationship is just a means to deliver groan worthy sarcastic one-liners back and forth. It's never funny, just distressing.
On top of that, the ending sets us up for a sequel. I found it a little arrogant but in hindsight I could laugh while seeing what they were trying to do. Yeah, good luck with that guys. This movie will surely be a hit! Maybe in the dinosaur dimension.