Plumbing the depths: why Hollywood should give up on making a Super Mario movie

He may be a terrific mascot for Nintendo, but the plumber’s lack of personality makes him a rubbish protagonist for a film – as Bob Hoskins discovered

Illumination is going to make a new Super Mario Bros movie, and what that means to you probably depends on your age. If you’re young enough to be the target audience of Illumination’s other movies – the Despicable Me franchise, Minions, The Secret Life of Pets et al – chances are you don’t know who Super Mario is. If you’re in your teens, you might be wondering why anyone would take a beloved video game character and insert him into a medium as passive as film. But if you’re like me – if you’re just easing the corner into middle age – then this is quite easily the worst news of all time.

Because if you’re my age, you remember the last Super Mario Bros movie. Worse, you remember the Super Mario Bros movie coming out right at the peak of your infatuation with Super Mario, and the feeling of vertiginous disappointment at being tricked into watching such a muddled, muddied rip-off of a film. The script was rewritten after the sets had already been built. It was, by his own admission, Bob Hoskins’ biggest disappointment. The 1993 Super Mario Bros movie should have been a line in the sand – a warning to the rest of the world that no good can come of making films about video game characters.

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