Super Mario Bros.: The Movie - 20 most ludicrous moments, 20 years later

Mario goes Hollywood

Twenty years ago, Super Mario Bros. made the leap from the NES to live-action theatrical films, in the process creating an unforgettable piece of cinematic history. Believe us--weve spent those last 20 years wishing we could forget. Completely ignoring the personalities and whimsical tone of the Super Mario video game series, the film is a bizarre mess that attempts to shoehorn some of the series concepts into a realistic setting, and the result is barely recognizable as the property that gamers around the world know and love. Nintendo has since tried to quietly push the movie under the rug and pretend it never happened (we can confirm that for a while, Nintendo Power magazine was banned from mentioning the movie in its pages), but fear not: were here to commemorate this auspicious anniversary with a look back at the films top 20 strangest, most ridiculous, and most questionable moments.

Talk like a dinosaur

The Super Mario Bros. movie begins with a crudely animated sequence featuring talking dinosaurs. Because, you know, thats what everybody thinks of when they think about Mario. Unfortunately, the whole talking-dinosaurs bit is integral to the films plot, and the introduction--which just so happens to be narrated by Dan Homer Simpson Castellaneta--goes on to explain how the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs just so happened to create a gateway to another dimension. Yup.

Murderous Mario

In the games, Mario is known for being a pretty happy-go-lucky nice guy. Sure, he typically kills pretty much every creature he comes across, but at least he does it with a smile on his face. In the movie, though, Mario is basically a grumpy psycho. Not only is he miserably complaining throughout most of the adventure, but theres one point where he proclaims, Im gonna break every bone in their body! And then Im gonna kill em! Im REALLY gonna kill em! Sure enough, before long he starts clubbing people upside the head with plumbing tools. We always suspected Marios good-guy image was just an act!

Mario Mario

Ever wondered why Mario and Luigi are known as the Mario Bros. instead of something a bit more all-encompassing? Well, according to the movie, its because Mario and Luigis last name is Mario. Its true. When the duo gets arrested, they give their names as Mario Mario and Luigi Mario--hence, they are the Mario Bros, and theyre even listed by those names in the credits. Miyamoto later refuted this, but its all there on the screen.

Wheres Toadstool?

Early in the movie, the Mario Bros. cross paths with the requisite damsel in distress, but its not Mario-series mainstay Princess Toadstool (better known these days Princess Peach). Instead, its Daisy, who was the princess of Sarasaland in Super Mario Land for the Game Boy. Of course, in this movie Daisy is a 20-year-old archeology student who ends up having a thing for Luigi, but that doesnt explain the absence of Princess Toadstool. Mario does, in fact, have a pink-dress-wearing girlfriend in the movie--but it isnt Peach, nor even Pauline from the Donkey Kong games. (Her name is Daniella; she works at a tanning salon.) So where did Toadstool go? The movie never tells us.

A princess is hatched

Oh, yeah, we almost forgot--Daisy is actually a refugee from that other dimension, where the populace descended from dinosaurs. In the movies prologue, we see a mysterious figure drop off a package at a convent. Inside the package is an egg, and from within the egg... hatches baby Daisy. After the egg hatches, were pretty sure we see a nun do a face-palm.

A fungus among us

Eventually Mario, Luigi, and Daisy end up in the alternate dimension, ready to save the day by fighting the evil King Koopa. But this new world isnt a wild, creative, miraculous place like youd find in the Mario games. Groaningly dubbed Dinohatten, its actually a lot like a regular city on Earth, only, um, crappy and dystopian. Its dirty, polluted, tyrannical, and filled with crime. And covered in fungus. Apparently the writers took the name Mushroom Kingdom a bit literally, and decided that Dinohatten should be covered in fungus, which looks kind of like torn-up bedsheets made out of earwax. To make matters stranger, we eventually learn that the city-covering fungus is actually the mutated form of the kingdoms former ruler.

Iggy & Spike

Pretty much every Mario character in the movie gets rewritten and redesigned into something that in no way resembles its former self, but two of the most curious inclusions are Iggy and Spike, King Koopas top henchmen. Iggys role makes sense, since he was one of Bowsers kids in the games (well, before Nintendo retconned that fact), but instead of being paired up with one of his siblings (say, Lemmy or Larry), his partner is Spike, who was just a random froglike enemy in Super Mario Bros. 3. At any rate, in the movie both characters are just goofy-looking humans with severe intelligence deficiencies, and they happen to be King Koopas cousins.

Glug, glug, glug

The Mario Bros. dont really have a catchphrase, but in the movie, theres a few times when they decide its time to get down to business, give each other a high-five, fondle each others fingers, and proclaim, Glug, glug, glug, glug! We dont quite get it, but were pretty sure somebody (possibly everybody) involved with the movie was drinking something really good when they made it.

Big Bertha

Out of all the characters redesigned for the movie, Big Bertha is probably the weirdest. In Super Mario Bros. 3, Big Bertha is a giant man-eating fish, but in the movie shes a burly, busty female bouncer with a penchant for red spikes who wears magical rocket boots. Oooooookay.

Chris Hoffman

Chris is the former senior editor of Nintendo Power and the former editor at Mac|Life. He's now a freelance writer, and a huge fan of RPGs, Mega Man, The Legend of Zelda, Ace Attorney, and Japanese gaming in general.