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Rejected Super Mario Bros. movie drafts deserve a second reading

It's tricky to pinpoint where exactly the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie went wrong, except to say 'everywhere' and 'at every conceivable point'. Interestingly enough, the film adaptation of Nintendo's 1985 8-bit classic once had a chance of being semi-decent (or at least, considerably less disappointing), as evidenced by four early movie drafts uncovered by the video game historians at The Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive.

Therejected scripts, which can beread in full here (opens in new tab), show how the Super Mario Bros. moviewent from being alight-hearted fantasy romp to a gritty “Mad Max-inspired” mess. For instance, in the earliest 1991 versionpenned by the writers of The Flintstone and Richie Rich, Mario and Luigi are sent on a whimsical quest to rescue Princess Hildy from King Koopa, the conclusion of which sees Mario saving the day andLuigi winning the girl. In a revised 1992 version, however, Mario and Luigi are sent to a parallel world filled with hedonistic reptiles, death racesand misplaced political satire;elements whichwere later adaptedin bits anpiecesfor inclusion intheversion that made it to film.

Eight writerssacrificed asignificant amount of their lives andintegrity trying to do the Mario Brothers justice, but at least now their efforts can be remembered. On thetopic ofpoorcareer moves, Bob Hoskins, who played Mario Mario, recentlytoldThe Guardian (opens in new tab)that his role in Super Mario Bros. movie is his most regrettable to date – and this is a guy whose credits include Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties and Maid in Manhattan. We'd say that's a close call.

Jul 13, 2011

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Matt Bradford wrote news and features here at GamesRadar+ until 2016. Since then he's gone on to work with the Guinness World Records, acting as writer and researcher for the annual Gamer's Edition series of books, and has worked as an editor, technical writer, and voice actor. Matt is now a freelance journalist and editor, generating copy across a multitude of industries.