My Idea for the Super Mario Brothers Movie
Before 2020 was the year of everything horrible happening all at once, it was going to be a big year for the titan of the video game industry, Nintendo. Super Mario celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, and Nintendo was rumored to have had a lot of things planned. So far, video game-wise only a single one has been announced, Paper Mario: The Origami King, set to release July 17th.
But Nintendo had bigger plans for the "Italian" "Plumber". Universal Studios' Super Nintendo World is set to open later this year in Japan and is basically a Mario-styled amusement park!
On top of that, though it hasn't been officially announced yet, because it's in early pre-production, Illumination Entertainment has announced they were working on an animated Super Mario film, slated for 2022 (or later).
That's right. The creators of the dreaded minions is now helming a Super Mario movie. And therein lies my biggest concern. Illumination Entertainment has a track record of releasing cheap, sub-par movies that rely heavily on slapstick comedy, forgettable pop songs, and annoying gibberish talking plush toys.
Take a look at their track record, and you'll see it's not very promising...
So, what could be a great potential for a movie will likely be Mario and Luigi dabbing to a Justin Beiber song. Meanwhile, Bowser is portrayed as a misunderstood father. He's a lovably eccentric bad guy who lives in an architect's nightmare of a castle who trips on banana peels and squishes and murders nameless goombas; the Super Mario equivalent of Minions, all played up for laughs.
When I realized that, I wanted to barf. The bar for "Best video game movie adaptation" is admittedly low, but come on! That being said, "Detective Pikachu" was a fun Movie and Nintendo seems to be very involved with this movie like they were with "Detective Pikachu", so I do have some hope for the movie.
Anyways, while I couldn't sleep one night, I decided to write a plot that would be 1) entertaining for a general audience, 2) fitting of the Nintendo brand, 3) not total garbage, and 4) in Illumination's wheelhouse. Granted, it's not a masterpiece or anything. It's a movie tie-in to a video game franchise and theme park; it's supposed to introduce a general audience to the Super Mario World and be a light-hearted fun watch.
So with that in mind, I present my vision for The Super Mario Brothers movie...
--- Main plot: It’s princess peach’s birthday and Mario and Luigi set out on a quest to get her the best gift in the mushroom kingdom.
Plot Summary: Opening montage is a long compilation of Mario and Luigi doing the more expected things., probably set to some pop/Rock Ballad (à la Shrek). Presented in little vignettes, they use their hammers, go down pipes, grow big from a mushroom, and use fire flowers...etc. Essentially, they are established as glorified plumbers/pest control in the Mushroom Kingdom and do odd jobs around the mostly Toad-populated kingdom. They appear in different settings and costumes, reflecting different games. >Title< It’s a beautiful day in the mushroom kingdom. Mario and Luigi share a house together and as a gag, their own plumbing doesn’t work right (I.e. Mario goes to brush his teeth and the water shoots him in the face). Luigi reminds Mario that it’s princess peach’s birthday and Mario panics! He’s been so busy that he completely forgot! Luigi has already got the princess a gift, but Mario can’t think of what to get her. After all, he has deeper feelings for her beyond a friendly gift. (In fact, they can even flash back to one of the many, many times he saved the princess, and Luigi can even comment that it seemingly happens over and over again.) Mario and Luigi go to an antiques store run by Birdo, an eccentric collector, who’s shop contains various Easter eggs of things from previous games. (A cape, a dice block, a propeller helmet...etc.) Fittingly enough, he sells them a mysterious spotted egg (granted, they would’ve known it was a Yoshi egg, but maybe Birdo pushed the sale on them or something.)
Mario can even comment that the egg was so expensive, and Luigi can point out that coins are just scattered everywhere. (Though, that could introduce some continuity holes.) The Mario Brothers leave the store and bump into a toad (This is the more classic Toad), who is running errands for the princess’s big day. Toad says he wanted to make a special cake for Peach but totally forgot one of the main ingredients. He begs Mario and Luigi, who are celebrated local heroes to help. The ingredient is a special berry that only grows only in the Bowser kingdom. At first, Mario and Luigi are reluctant to go, but then Toad says that it’s Peach’s favorite cake, and she would be ever so grateful, so they reluctantly set off on an adventure.
On their way, they come across obstacles and mishaps. (This represents different worlds and levels and stuff) Meanwhile, Peach is in her castle with Toad, making preparations for the big party. Then, Toadette and princess Daisy show up and they have their own little adventure. (Maybe even Rosalina shows up? I don't know much about her.) All the while, Toad is trying to keep a secret about the cake he plans to make for Peach. He can’t keep a secret, so he tells Daisy, and asks that she helps him keep it a secret. Daisy has an idea and insists that the girls go off and do something fun and more wild for Peach’s birthday (I hesitate to suggest go-carting, but...) Meanwhile, Mario and Luigi travel across various worlds (simulating the different atmospheres of levels) looking for the fruit. Hijinks ensue.
At last, Mario and Luigi find a single tree bearing the fruit they need for the cake. But before they can get it, Bowser Jr. swoops in and takes them all. Mario and Luigi wrestle him for the fruit, but Bowser Jr. says he needs them for something very important. Eventually, Bowser Jr. outmaneuvers them and he escapes with all the berries, save one, that falls out of his bag.
Mario and Luigi say that one berry is better than nothing and decide to head back to the kingdom so that they aren't late for the party. They forget about the Yoshi egg they had on them and it hatches into a baby Yoshi And the baby Yoshi eats the berry whole! (Womp womp!) Now Mario has nothing to give to Peach for her birthday and no berries to give Toad for his cake. He feels like he let everyone down. But Luigi is kind and shows Mario that he wrote both of their names on his gift (which is a new parasol). They go to the party and Mario is a bit uneasy and sad, because he let everyone down. Toad says he prepared a backup cake just in case (and it's a strawberry shortcake à la the N64 Mario Party level), and Luigi suggests they try to have fun anyways. It’s about time for cake and presents and suddenly, a huge shadow hovers over the kingdom. It’s Bowser in his airship! Everyone’s scared and on edge, and Mario steps in front of Peach, ready to protect her. To everyone’s shock, Bowser’s ship produces a massive present. Browser comes out and says that he’s sorry for all the trouble he’s caused and wanted to make it up for Peach on her birthday. Everyone’s skeptical, until Bowser opens the present, revealing the special cake with the berries on it that Toad had mentioned (and pictured). And that's why Bowser Jr. needed them so badly! Everyone cheers and Peach accepts the cake and asks Bowser to stay to have some cake with them, and Bowser asks if it’s ok if he brought someone else along. Peach says the more the merrier, since it is, after all, a big cake, and on cue all the koopalings run out of the ship and start playing around. Everyone is having fun except Mario, who feels sad. Peach notices it and confronts him privately. She asks him what’s wrong. Mario explains the situation of the whole day and how he let everyone down. Peach giggles and says that he’s her hero who has always come through to save her from countless perils; no extra material gift is necessary. She kisses him on the forehead and Mario blushes. The movie ends with a montage and dance party to some celebrity singing a cover of “Jump up, Super Star”. Post-credits teases Kamek or some other threat looming overhead. (the sequel would be more of a "save the princess" arc.) >The End<
That's my vision for a Super Mario Movie. Let's re-cap why I think so.
Peach doesn’t get kidnapped, and Bowser isn’t portrayed as a bad guy in the movie. It’s a pretty simple, low-stakes, character-building and world-building movie that is PERFECT to have a theme park built around (and vice-versa). Take the vignettes and build rides around it, sell the cake in confession stands, have a dance party in the center of the park, have Bowser and his koopalings show up in costumes and they won’t necessarily scare the kiddies, if he’s presented as a father trying to make amends...etc. have a parade themed around Princess Peach's birthday...etc. Movie-wise, you COMPLETELY AVOID the following problems: -Stale plot where Bowser kidnaps Peach and the Mario Bro.s have to save the day. Look, People like playing it, but won’t like watching it happen on a movie screen. -Everyone will complain that Peach is just a "damsel in distress" and Mario’s “reward”.
-An LGBTQ+ character in Birdo (progress!) -Complaints that Mario is (or isn’t, depending on your Point of View) murdering Koopas and Goombas left and right. -having to translate things like power-ups clunkily into a movie setting. -adding a new character that no one wants just to be the audience surrogate that gets explained at, just so the seven people in existence who doesn’t know the story of Super Mario is caught up. -changing lore to fit the movie’s structure -fitting many worlds and levels into a three-act structure, or, more likely, visiting the first two “levels”, and a quick montage breezing through 40 “middle levels” until reaching the castle.
-every Illumination pitfall and trope
So, with that being said, Illumination Entertainment, hire me so I can get started on the script for your movie!