The Big Picture: Mr. Mario Goes To Hollywood

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The problem as I see it, is that the people that would make the movie don't understand that content. For example, look at the last Ninja Turtles. One reason why the Marvel movies have been so good is that the people making the movies (writers, directors, producers) all get the material, mostly due to the fact that Marvel is so involved. So what made them successful in the first place is still intact.

You look at that trailer for the original SMB movie, it's just a bunch of stuff happening. Granted it's Mario Brothers so it's not Shakespeare, but there is an underlining theme behind the games that makes them so popular even after all of this time. Most of Hollywood will come in and try to change that to what the current market is hot for right now.

Why do video game movies fail, because they are never true to the video game that they are. It's like the very thing that made them popular isn't good enough for Hollywood because they're "just video games". Why can't I just see the plot of Halo, Mass Effect, or Half-life up on screen?

gerardy:
Further complicating this, the central premise of a Mario game is that he's a guy who goes around and jumps on creatures, smashing them into oblivion while making a "Whoo Hoo!" noise.

I think this is by far the biggest problem with the idea of a Mario film. All those other fantasy films Bob mentions have one very important point in common - there's a story that someone wanted to tell. Comic book movies are all some kind of adaptation of a story that has already been written. Same for Lord of the Ring, same for Harry Potter and Narnia. And the original ones like Willow were original stories that happened to be set in some sort of fantasy universe. Mario does have a story, all it has is a charcater. And a character with very little actual characterisation. Where all the films mentioned above involve someone wanting to create a new story or adapt and existing one, Mario has little more than people saying "This guy is famous, let's try to make a film out of him somehow".

Of course that doesn't mean that someone can't come up with a good story to fit him in, but such a story would have to stand on its own merits and could just as easily be made without Mario being involved at all. Combine that with the good point that a live action Mario really can't look or behave in the same way as the Mario people actually know, and what exactly would the point be?

The Mario and generally most Nintendo games have been focused purely on mechanics and art style. Trying to make a movie out of those strengths is a poor allocation of resources.

Yes, games and movies are both electronic media but that doesn't mean what works for games will work for movies. The plot and/or setting of Mario is ridiculously shallow. There's no enough there to make a movie with without doing a new origin or establishing something new with the setting - then it won't be Mario anymore, will it?

Mario doesn't need a movie. It's always been about the mechanics, not the story.

At the risk of being accused of shamelessly plugging my YouTube channel, my Let's Play colleague actually worked on the special effects for the Mario Bros. movie. He recounts his experiences here (seek to 31:46):

Oddly, that trailer made me more slightly interested than any other Mario product to date. Perhaps I ought to see it one day.

Of course, that is part of the problem. I don't have any investment in Mario as a character or a franchise. The only Nintendo-product I've owned in my life is an old PEZ-dispencer somewhere. Any potential Mario film should not set their sights on me, but on an audience already present. But then again, they ought to know by now.

While you could do a live action with Mario and Luigi played by real people Bowser, the Kooperlings, and all the villains would have to be CG because they're not human shaped so the movie would be the adventures of real life Mario and Luigi in an almost entirely CG world. So you may as well just make everything in the movie CG.

Zelda could work as more of the characters are humanoid (humans, elves, zora, gorgons, gerudo, moblins) and I guess you could do what they did in Tintin to make the characters look like their in game counterparts. Maybe they should make Ocarina of Time or Windwaker the movie.

I am absolutely not surprised that most people share this opinion with me.

You say "two Italian guys in overalls" as if Mario and Luigi are the strangest part of the Mario canon. What about pretty much everything else? Frankly Toad and goombas and Bowser and the like would all have to be CG anyway, and I'm not sure I want to know what a 'realistic' take on them would be.

I think a Legend of Zelda film would definitely be a neat thing.

I completely agree with what Bob said about live action and animation. Comparing to the Marvel movies, I saw the Avengers in theaters but I've never felt the need to watch any of the OVA's on Netflix. Maybe that can be attributed to the fact that I'm not fanatical to Marvel, but some things just don't generate appeal in certain formats. Let me take another example. I love Dragon Ball. I've watched the animated stuff and read most of the manga. Have I watched Dragon Ball Evolution? Nope. Not because its bad (I can't judge if its bad myself, since I never watched it, but that's the consensus the internet has given me) but because I just don't think it'll be all that interesting.

Bottom line, if it gathers great appeal to a very large audience and is well done (however subjective that term is), Mario can be a live action movie.

Zachary Amaranth:
It's a crying shame that Bob doesn't trust the fungus.

Live-action Kirby would be horrible. As in, horrifying, and I must see it!

I can't honestly see a reason for there to even BE a Super Mario movie. And especially since they're so plot and character lite that anything they try and do with it will be met with

Rossco64:
"waah it's different I don't like change!"

Like, seriously, I don't know how the hell how you could even not be different on some level.

LOL Live action Kirby already pretty much exists, albeit by a different name. A big pink thing that eats everything in it's path to get more powerful?

Sounds like The Blob to me lol

captcha: Very doubtful. Fuck you captcha, i can make observations without you mocking them.

How would this even be done? The golden-age games were incredibly repetitive and made little sense. Mario has to traipse through a half-dozen or so themed worlds - either just linearly or to collect something - before finally meeting his nemesis and engaging the multi-ton monster in fisticuffs. Link, likewise, has to storm a similar number of dungeons/palaces/fortresses to gain a useful item and piece of whatever from each of them. Gameplay-wise, it's fine, but films don't have gameplay.

Neither of these concepts is filmable as is. They'd run too long and become boring quickly. You could show the first level, but then you'd have to montage away everything that happens in the middle to avoid the narrative dragging to a crawl.

And what narrative would you have, anyway? The Zelda series at least establishes a different Link each time and can start at his village (or whatever) shortly before he becomes the hero. But Mario? What do you do there? Who is this guy and why is he here? Granted, you could start in media res as though he's always been fighting Koopa and that the current story is just another adventure for him (and this may even be best), but that doesn't really allow for an arc as such. It's just a bunch of stuff that happens that doesn't resolve anything. If you do give him a backstory, you have to flesh out the world enough for this plumber and his pre-hero lifestyle to plausibly exist within it.

Oh Fie, Bob. If this New Super Mario Bros movie was animated (Hell, even if it was a japanese animation) and good you'll be singing on the rafters like everyone else who called the first movie a complete disaster.

The Grim Ace:
Were it my decision, either Super Mario RPG or Bowser's Inside Story.

I'd vote against Super Mario RPG because I think it would come off too fringe and weird; at least in the first movie, Mario and Bowser should be enemies, Luigi should have an actual role, and Mallow and Geno would be confusing to people who aren't in on the gag. Bowser's Inside Story is better.

I wouldn't mind seeing a movie based on that Nintendo Power series of comics, though. That was pretty good storytelling.

Hyboria, Bob. Conan the Barbarian is set in Hyboria, which I think is supposed to be Earth in some lost prehistoric age (like Middle-Earth). On a related note, I hope we get a live-action Red Sonja movie (with comics-accurate costume, meow!).
i blame the Super Mario Brothers movie for the public's perception of video game movies being awful. Animating it instead of live action makes perfect sense, or else they'll just CGI its bollocks off. A Link and Zelda movie would be cool, but I see no way around having Link talk. They just have to do it.

I guess its the type of game their adapting into a movie that makes it easier. If it has a fairly linear narrative (so maybe not RPG's) or if it's part of a bigger universe and you can tell your own story that's set in it (like what they want to do with the Assassin's Creed movie). And yes, some things need to be changed, like in The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time when they gave The Prince a name.

I'd be more on board if it was almost anyone other than Sony doing it.

bob ..you are fill with bad ideas some times

how is making a movie of a video game a meaningful evolution? if anything it's a step down, from an interactive medium to a non interactive one. i never understood why people ever want video game movies, what could they possibly do that a video game can't? you can provide a way better narrative when you, the player, guides it or experiences it with the characters, watching a narrative unfold on a big screen is vastly inferior to fucking experiencing it as you play the fucking game. you wanna just kinda zone out and have stuff blow up? great, here play this video game and do the blowing-up yourself.

a movie based on a video game is a huge downgrade.

Isn't it ironic that Sony wants to make a Mario movie?

Sony is Nintendo's biggest competitor, how does giving Sony the rights to Mario (even if it's in movie form) make any sense for Nintendo? That would be like KFC giving the rights to their kind of chicken to McDonalds.

Have the lego guys do it.

You brought up the best reason why no one should/would make a Mario movie again: Because it is so big, well known and on the air for 20 years.

At least two generations of console kiddies were raised by the TV and the Marios franchise. Can you imagine the backlash of all the internet crybabies over every single small detail in the movie?

Of course it would make money. Look the new Spiderman/Turtles movies. They are terrible and still make money, just because their name is so big. But i believe Nintendo is afraid that a new Mario movie will make money in the short term, but hurt the Mario franchise in the long term.
So they do just what EA should do.

lord.jeff:
I think Mario has to be a cartoon for one simple reason so Mario can jump, in a live action movie you can break the laws of nature but you have to say how or why it happened in cartoons we'd easily accept a talking dinosaur or a Italian plumber jumping 5 times his height. The same is not true of live action and you would end up with some kind of stupid jump boot just to give Mario his iconic jump. Plus it'd look weird as hell to have a live action man floating up ten feet in the air every time he jumped.

You just described a scene from the Super Mario Bros. Movie: jump boots that made him practically float in the air. However I disagree with the obligation from the movies of explaining the how or why of everything. No one explained what the Force was in the original Star Wars movies, and everyone was OK with it.

All right here's my pitch for a super mario brothers movie:

Mario and Luigi are two young men who after failing out of college or the collapse of a small business venture are forced to turn to their father to get them a job in a local plumbing business. When the two brothers demonstrate their considerable acrobatic abilities an elderly plumber working for the company takes the two boys under his wing and inducts them into the Order of the Plumber. He reveals that the intricate mechanism of modern plumbing accidentally tap into the mystical nature of water as the source of all life allowing it to act as a portal connecting many different worlds together. The Plumbers are an ancient order that acts as guides and body guards for various dignitaries traveling between the different worlds. He teaches them a martial art style that combines parkour and taekkyeon or Muy Tai so that they are skilled at jumping through the air and kicking people in the face.

The boys complete their training and are assigned to escort a princess of the peaceful mushroom kingdom to a more hellish planet that's home to the Koopas (less dinosaur and more invincible iron skinned turtle people like actual kappas.) Talks break down, princess gets kidnapped, corrupt plumbers, Wario and Waluigi are sneaking a koopa army into the mushroom kingdom and Mario and Luigi have to put aside the ancient plumber creed of neutrality to save the princess by kicking turtle demons in the face.

End with post credits teaser that the sewer portals connect to various other Nintendo worlds as set up from potential avenger's style smash bros movie down the road.

I thought I heard a scream of anguish from down east last week.

While announcing intent is pretty far from ever seeing a film (remember the live action Evangelion), pre-emptive fearis warranted. Mario has some mythos, but too little in the way of specifics to work with. By that I mean serious specifics. The Mario RPGs are fun, but not exactly blockbuster epic. That in and of itself should push to CGI or animated to go for the childlike charm you lose with live actors.

As for live versus animation, while I'd like to say it depends, be honest, how many of the best scenes in The Avengers weren't already heavily CGI. Sometimes it works, if the attention is there, but if corners get cut something gets lost. I just saw that Street Fighter: Assassins' fist movie, and while it isn't bad by any sense, nothing in it has me cheering or involved the way the final fight of the 90s animated movie did. Animation just makes the dumb moves look real, while seeing them really performed makes them look a bit stupid.

Who else is hoping Sony changes their mind and gets Uwe Boll to do the Mario movie?

Evonisia:
A live action Kirby film could really work well as a Godzilla knock-off, and I will fight anyone on that[1].

That'd be awesome to do Kirby as a horror comedy. I think it starts off as an animated film for the first few minutes and then DDD hits Kirby with a hammer sending him flying off into space. The film then switches to live action (with kirby always being animated in cgi) and it plays out as a horror movie. The first people he encounters are some hoodlums/gangsters who find him and smack him around a little (like Attack the Block). Then he swallows one and gets a gangster hat and some related ability (maybe spray paint graffiti). As the movie goes on, people get more and more afraid of what to do with the adorable pink blob and the city descends into chaos while kirby thinks he is just playing around.

OT: A zelda movie could work, but you would need a bunch of young actors to star in it. While some young actors are remarkable, they can be hard to find and an annoying child actor is just the worst. Not to mention that at some point a nine year old would need to sword fight a muscly older man and that could get ridiculous really fast (not that it can't work, it worked in Kick Ass).

Other than those few points though, a zelda movie could work very well. People are getting too hung up on the dungeons. These could honestly be mostly cut out. Make ganondorfs evils present and show link overcoming them, but the dungeons don't need to show him pushing boxes around to find a key. Windwaker seems like the choice that I'd go with for a movie, and some of the dungeons (earth/wind) could be presented as minor challenges link must face. Dragonroost and Forest Haven could involve link helping the poor people of the islands out and gradually learning that ganondorf is causing all this trouble and that he must be defeated, not just to save his sister but to save all these innocent people. I think Tower of The Gods would need to play out as more of a traditional dungeon however as the trials in the tower are important to prove Link's worthiness. I'd also have link spend more time with Tetra and pals so that more of a supporting cast could be around, but i wouldn't cut out the King of the Red Lions either.

Mario movie should be animated. All the non-human characters like bowser and Yoshi would look silly and the powerups/jumping would look ridiculous in live action.

[1] Well, in terms of words or through speech. I'm frail as fuck IRL

Hey Bob, ask that dude who did the Mega Man and Sonic fan movies. I'm sure the results would be dandy.

vid87:
I've thought a lot about it too and stuff like Zelda and Metroid would certainly translate well to live-action, but that's because their universe - subject matter, physics, general mood and plotlines - are somewhat grounded. Mario is pure (good) nonsense with no real structure or gravity.

This exactly. When Bob was naming off the lists of things that have gotten the live action movie coat of paint, be it book, comic, or whatever, I couldn't help but think "Bob.........every single one of those is believably alterable to that format" Lord of the rings, huge amounts of story, environment, characters, etc. Harry potter, same thing. you can very easily visualize how that stuff would look in live action. but Mario is a series that has forever been very malleable in what you can do with it, and yet all of that doesn't translate well to live action. Personally I loved the movie. It's cheesy, it's got some funny moments, neat effects for the time I guess (I was young then ^^;; ), but if they could come up with a decent story to mold around Mario that would make a good movie, heck I'd love to see it animated.

Also will agree with previous comments, I've dreamed for YEARS now of a good Metroid movie being made....for heavens sake, the Prime games provided a PERFECT MODEL for how to do it! Step one, introduction, our key players, etc etc, reveal the mysterious mcguffin that is evil and stuff. 2, show more of what evil mcguffin can do, some backstory of acquaintances, clue in to source of mcguffin maybe. 3, mcguffin source found, terrible things happening, rescues performed, assault team built, heroine seperated, take out rival that has been created by mcguffin..........SOMEONE MAKE THAT MOVIE!!!!!

So i think it would be awesome to see a live action zelda

but im not sure i really want another live action mario

also, personally i kinda like the the mario movie, sure it had nothing to do with the games, but i thought it was alright

Someone mentioned that the prior SMB movie "poisoned the well." Wow, that's listing all the selling points. Surely some studio is thinking "the bar isn't very high, people couldn't hate it THAT much... even fanboys."

Oh and...

CulexVanda:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBC84A55C38AEFDC4
if a bunch of random people on youtube can do a live action Brawl series,
then some studio can do a SMB Movie

That show was hosted here on the Escapist. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/there-will-be-brawl

And I could really give or take the "big hollywood" live action SMB or Zelda or Whichever Videogame Property movie. But I would be really psyched if I heard about progress on the TWBB prequel. Frankly; Machinima, youtube, Geek & Sundry, ect, ect, have done better with videogame properties than traditional movie studios. I care more about "Mortal Kombat Legacy" than whatever Hollywood might be doing with the property at the moment. A Fallout movie franchise, neat... cool I guess? Unless some big studio handed the project to the guys at Wayside Creations... then AWESOME, Nuka Break: The Movie!

Until Hollywood figures out how to swallow its pride and hand videogame movie rights to the folks who ALREADY know how to handle the franchises... I'd just as soon they not bother at all.

Abomination:
The Mario and generally most Nintendo games have been focused purely on mechanics and art style. Trying to make a movie out of those strengths is a poor allocation of resources.

Yes, games and movies are both electronic media but that doesn't mean what works for games will work for movies. The plot and/or setting of Mario is ridiculously shallow. There's no enough there to make a movie with without doing a new origin or establishing something new with the setting - then it won't be Mario anymore, will it?

Mario doesn't need a movie. It's always been about the mechanics, not the story.

Exactly this. Anyone trying to create a Mario movie that "makes sense" (i.e. has a coherent story), will end up with some kind of fan fiction. It will not please anyone, especially not the fans of the franchise.
Oh and by the way: MY face of gaming has a crowbar and a PhD

fractal_butterfly:

Abomination:
The Mario and generally most Nintendo games have been focused purely on mechanics and art style. Trying to make a movie out of those strengths is a poor allocation of resources.

Yes, games and movies are both electronic media but that doesn't mean what works for games will work for movies. The plot and/or setting of Mario is ridiculously shallow. There's no enough there to make a movie with without doing a new origin or establishing something new with the setting - then it won't be Mario anymore, will it?

Mario doesn't need a movie. It's always been about the mechanics, not the story.

Exactly this. Anyone trying to create a Mario movie that "makes sense" (i.e. has a coherent story), will end up with some kind of fan fiction. It will not please anyone, especially not the fans of the franchise.
Oh and by the way: MY face of gaming has a crowbar and a PhD

Agreed. 80s video game characters are impossible to compare to comic book or literary characters - the latter exist PURELY in shape of their storylines and personalities. The former exist just as purely through their gameplay.

Yes, you could do a Zelda feature film, but let's be honest: if Link speaks in it, it's torches and pitchforks. If Link doesn't speak, it's going to be a miserable slog of a movie with very limited character interaction and development. It would also have to go the Hyrule Warriors or Hyrule Total War route of making the Zelda setting make sense in a flesh-and-blood, three-dimensional context, which is much harder than it sounds if (unlike the aforementioned couple of games) are also concerned with keeping the integrity of the IP intact.

Not even Marvel/Disney could pull this off.

Zelda and Mario just don't feel like they would be right for a movie at all. And I'll make that point by glarign at Metroid: Other M and saying "that."

Most Nintendo franchises have silent protagonists for a bevy of reasons. Originally, it was because of technical limitations - they weren't trying to tell an epic story with dialogue - they just wanted you to have fun. As technology progressed, they were largely left the same - with A Link to the Past, Link was only spoken towards, and never spoke at anyone. It was kind of an immersion thing where instead of stepping into the shoes of another person, you were them. You never had a moment where you would say "What? I wouldn't say that."

Mario was like this as well - even in his more recent games, he's a borderline mute. He doesn't really have any dialogue. Samus was the furthest developed pre-Other M, with a small narration of the events of Metroid 2 in Super Metroid, and Metroid Fusion.

Other M shows what happens though when you ascribe a face to a character that had no personality prior. Say what you want about the story or the mechanics, but there were points in the game weren't faithful to the heroine people had expected - like the infamous "I'm not gonna save my life with this suit because I haven't been told I could yet." And that's damaging for a character. Especially when you let outsiders muddy the waters. And that's what happened with the original Mario movie, and the animated series of most Nintendo franchises.

Can a good Mario movie be made? Probably. But what's the point of seeing a Mario movie? Nothing about the character translates to anything worth while on the big screen. They aren't going to build their brand, or move Mario forward as a franchise. They would either be giving the rights to other people to do that stuff, or they'd be taking time and focus away from what really matters - their games.

Well, if we need a good Mario movie, why not just adapt the comics from Nintendo Power?

Seriously, you ever read those? They're fantastic. Mario and Luigi do their jobs, Peach actually saves THEM once and is able to take care of herself (seriously, best rendition of her ever) and it's a really fun romp.

Yeah really not appreciating the live-action snobbery coming off of Moviebob. Most of what Pixar create is way better than what the rest of Hollywood is coming up with and there are many other very good CGI animated movies from other studios out nowadays as well. Then you have the likes of Studio Ghibli basically at the forefront of mature family entertainment, live-action or no, and I begin to wonder why something needs to be live-action to have 'circumstance and weight'. Mononoke-hime is my third favourite movie of all time and it does not lack 'circumstance and weight' I can tell you that.

Then you just consider Mario and his world themselves: they're already inherently cartoonish to begin with, and whilst I'm not saying all animation is strictly 'cartoonish' there is definitely a stylistic element to them that makes translating something like Mario (very stylistic as well) into animation just make more sense aesthetically. I'm not saying it couldn't be done in live action, I just think if I were to choose what would suit Mario best, animation would be my choice.

Mario movie? No thanks. Just... Don't. Narrative has never been the strong point of the Mario series, and that's something I've always been grateful for. Let's be honest, the wafer thin plots of most Mario games exists almost solely to give a flimsy story justification to why you're running and jumping beyond "just because it's fun". The appeal has always been exploring the amazing worlds and that rush of accomplishment you get from grabbing the flagpole/star at the end of the level.

As for a Zelda movie? If you insist we have one of those, fine, but meet me half way and make it Toon Link; he's a lot more expressive than regular Link, which is something you're going to need when the protagonist of your movie is mostly mute (because fuck anyone who says he should talk). Toon Link slapstick bumbling his way through an epic adventure could make for a good time. And make Zelda go with him, either regularly, as Tetra or as a ghost like in Spirit Tracks, whatever.

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