Ever since I was a child, my life has been pleasantly plagued by the video game legend that is Mario. There was Super Mario Bros., Super Smash Bros., Mario-Kart, Mario Party, and various other spin-offs for the incredibly popular cast of individual side characters. Now as Sony and Apple and perhaps even Disney, gear up in preparation for Nintendo to finally give the okay on another film based on the beloved franchise, I take a look on both sides of the argument, from fans and critics, to determine whether or not another Mario movie is truly worth looking into.
The Fan Base. It's Massive, But Will They Show Up?
Super Mario and his zany collection of comedic cartoon pals have been dazzling audiences since 1985, and in that time, they have amassed several legions worth of fans that are fervently die hard to the franchise. These people line up at the store for every new release, come in costume to Comic-Cons around the country, and purchase every new system Nintendo has to offer just to make sure they don't miss out on even a slight mention of the character's name. Fans of Super Mario have stood beside the franchise in the worst of times (Wii U) and in the best of times (Wii). They are, without a doubt, one of the most hardcore groups of dedicated fans that currently exist.
Will They Show Up To Support Their Longtime Animated Plumber Pal?
This is where it gets tricky. Mario fans are a lot like Disney/Pixar fans; if they don't like it, it's not going to fly and they're going to let you know why. When the Super Mario Bros. film was released back in 1993, it was universally panned as one of the worst films and box office bombs of all time. The fans hated it, the critics hated it, and it's parent company, Nintendo hated it, so much so that they swore their characters would NEVER end up back on the big screen. Recent financial troubles on Nintendo's part have seemingly put that decision up for debate, at least for now.
Reluctance and the constant reminder of the live-action Bob Hoskins film still deter fans from opening their minds to even the remote possibility of another movie. However, if it were to be taken on by a company with a great track record, say, Pixar perhaps? The fans might be willing to overlook that former disaster and show up to support a potentially amazing Disney/Nintendo collaboration. Having done such fine work with Wreck-It Ralph, (which also featured a spectacular cameo from Bowser) I don't see why Disney or Pixar couldn't be trusted with making an exceptional piece of work for these iconic characters.
On The Negative Side: No Clear Story To Follow
Unlike Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series, Super Mario, and his pals have always had more of a wacky, unrestricted, unfiltered, playful sort of go around. There's never really been much of a story to the games, at least not one that can be considered as the main contributing factor for purchasing one of the games. Whereas Link and Zelda have had a dramatic, story-driven, free to explore, adventurous, occasionally hard to follow story, Mario, on the other hand, has always been more of a controlled and restrictive kind of experience. And that's generally the way the fans like it. With that model of success, I doubt Nintendo has any plans to change this method for Mario in the near future.
On The Plus Side: No Story Opens A lot of Doors
Nintendo is no stranger to taking this franchise to new levels. In 2007, they took their flagship character into outer space to rescue his beloved Princess Peach in Super Mario Galaxy. The game was so successful that it spawned an equally successful sequel and endless pleas for a third entry. The galactic adventure also introduced the fan base to new character, Rosalina, who has since become a fan favorite character and has been made a permanent fixture to Mario's various other titles, including Super Smash Bros. Wii U, Mario Kart 8, and 2013's Game of the Year, Super Mario 3D World.
Taking this video game franchise to the silver screen would be a fantastic opportunity to explore these characters like Nintendo never could before. The potential alone for background stories is overwhelming. I'd pay for a movie ticket to see why Bowser is so obsessed with Peach, or how Mario and Luigi ended up in the Mushroom Kingdom, or even what the Mushroom Kingdom was like before Mario's arrival. Could you imagine finding out that Bowser was actually the wronged party this entire time? It would be a great opportunity for Nintendo to bring some fresh blood into the franchise that has been beating the dead horse with the stick for far too many years. A movie introducing a new villain could certainly change the game up a bit and bring in some new fans and revitalize the interest of some old fans, who've grown tired of the constant coming to the rescue of Princess Peach, a woman who has clearly shown by now she doesn't need a man to save her.
On The Negative Side: They Don't Speak, Generally
It's no secret that Nintendo has kept these character's vocal prowess to the bare minimum. And when they do speak, they're mostly restricted to yahoos, woohoos, and repetitive catchphrases that cause players to mute the television. This could become a particularly irritating problem when movie executives start making the hard decisions involving casting.
On The Plus Side: Unexpected But Awesome Casting
If Dreamworks proved anything with their Kung Fu Panda, How To Train Your Dragon, and Shrek franchises, it's that if given the chance, anyone can voice an animated character, give them distinct personality, and be super awesome at doing it. I could see a storyline much like Wreck-It Ralph where the characters speak one way in their game and another way once the game has turned off. I could see Robert De Niro voicing Mario, John Turturro as Luigi, Bradley Cooper as Yoshi, Margot Robbie as Peach, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daisy, and Keith David as Bowser, yeah that could totally work.
Will It Happen?
Ultimately, no matter what I or anyone else says, the final decision comes down to Nintendo. I've given just as many reasons why the film is a bad idea as why it could really work. Whatever happens, we should let Nintendo know how we as fans feel about it. Should these iconic characters stay in their present form of kicking butt and having limitless cartoon fun or should they expand beyond their current limitations and become a treasured franchise of another form? Let me know below by voting in the poll and posting your own reasons for and against another film development of Super Mario.