In 1993, Lightmotive made a Live-Action Adaptation out of Super Mario Bros., which was later bought by Disney (or, more specifically, its banner Hollywood Pictures) under Jeffrey Katzenberg's (now of Dreamworks) direction. That's right, an attempt was actually made to make a coherent narrative out of plumbers, killer turtles, and mushrooms.
Mario Mario (Bob Hoskins) and his younger brother Luigi Mario (John Leguizamo) are Italian-American plumbers trying hard to earn a living in Brooklyn. A run-in with Daisy, an archaeology student in her 20s, has Luigi very interested and the two quickly bond. However, all their lives are turned upside-down when Daisy, as well as Mario's girlfriend Daniella, are kidnapped and taken through a mysterious portal in Daisy's dig site after it's sabotaged by rival plumbers from the Scapelli corporation, which is looking to build there.
The portal leads to a parallel world where reptiles, instead of mammals, evolved into people and became the dominant species on the planet. The alternate world is mostly barren wastelands, except for New York, which appears as a dark and dystopian version of itself, run by the despotic President Koopa (Dennis Hopper) and further besieged by a mysterious fungus. Attempting to rescue Daisy and Daniella, the Mario brothers end up going on a crazy adventure through every tier of this "Mushroom Kingdom" and eventually realize it's up to them to stop the whole world from going down the drain!
This film is notable for being the first ever full-length, theatrical, live-action motion picture to based on a video game, though it is not the first feature-length theatrical production based on a video game in general; that title goes to the obscure 1986 Japanese animated film The Great Mission to Save Princess Peach!.
While it failed at the box office, the movie developed a cult following and has a dedicated fansite that archived various versions of the movie, restored many deleted scenes and trailers, and released a Region 2 Blu-ray with many extras. A sequel webcomic with creative input from one of the movie's writers was announced for the 20th anniversary. The comic hasn't been updated, however, since 2015.
Decades after the film was released, Nintendo announced a new film based on the Mario franchise. It will be a Continuity Reboot, however, and be an Animated Adaptation courtesy of Illumination Entertainment.
The series provides examples of:
- Averted. Koopa has a wanted poster of the plumbers posted all over the city, with an 800 number to call if they are spotted. The number is a legitimate toll-free number in the US, and if you call it, it's now a phone sex hotline.
- Played straight with the brothers' van, which has a fake number.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The one the brothers are shown running around in under Manhattan is about the size of a subway tunnel.
- Actually, I Am Him: The lawyer assigned to the Mario Bros. warns them that they don't want to deal with Koopa, who he describes as "one evil, egg-sucking son of a snake." It's ultimately revealed that their "lawyer" is Koopa.Luigi: You're Koopa?! But you said you were-
Koopa: One evil, egg-sucking son of a snake. Did I lie?
- Adaptation Expansion: As this movie was being written, the Super Mario Bros. series didn't have much story or defined personalities for the characters outside of the various cartoon series or somewhat obscure comics. Because of this the writers decided to write the story from the angle of a prequel, exploring how the Mario Bros. became the Super Mario Bros. In the process, Mario and Luigi were given an older brother/younger brother dynamic/conflict, and Koopa was provided a more defined motivation for kidnapping the Princess other than his infatuation with her from the games. It also suggests how Toad and Yoshi came to be at the Princess' side.
- Adaptational Badass: The Bob-Omb. There's a reason everyone screams and runs away when Mario pulls one out late in the film. If Bob-Ombs caused that much destruction in the games, they would probably make the games unwinnable.
- Adaptational Ugliness: The Goombas are Tiny-Headed Behemoths and definitely not as cute as their video game counterparts.
- Adaptational Wimp: The villains get hit hard with this. Koopa Troopas and Goombas zigzag into Adaptational Badass by being changed into big burly guys with tiny heads, but then it gets subverted when you see them in action, and Koopa was changed from a turtle dragon sorcerer into a humanoid President Evil who had above-average strength. There's a brief moment at the end where he turns into a Tyrannosaurus Rex, but he ends up being an Anticlimax Boss, getting devolved into primordial ooze in short order.
- Adorkable: Luigi's obvious crush on Daisy makes his interactions with her adorably sweet, especially when he can't figure out what to say.
- Adult Fear: Daniella and Daisy's kidnappings are played to scary effect, and the other girls Iggy and Spike kidnapped are talked about before being seen. As far as the residents of Brooklyn knew, they were missing and probably dead.
- Age Lift: Mario is middle-aged in this film. In canon he's in his mid-20s, but this didn't come up till the 2000s (Mario's trophy information in the Japanese version of Super Smash Bros. Melee says he's 26), and early material for the games show that Mario might have been originally intended to be middle-aged. Mario's also considerably older than Luigi, but the Bros. wouldn't be established as fraternal twins until 1995's Yoshi's Island, so that's forgivable.
- The Alleged Car: The Mario Bros. van has seen better days.
- All There in the Manual:
- The name of the city that Koopa is ruling over is called "Dinohattan" in various promotional releases and a Freeze-Frame Bonus in-movie, but is never referred to by name in dialogue.
- The nation Dinohattan is in is "Saurasaland," a pun on Sarasaland, Daisy's kingdom from Super Mario Land.
- Lena's species is never stated in the film, but according to makeup artist Jeff Goodwin she's a Pterosaur.
- All There in the Script: The reason why Daisy is the only one that can merge the dimensions is because she's the sole survivor of the Portal-Keepers, an esoteric society mutated by the meteorite's radiation.
- Always Night: Aside from a brief scene in the Koopahari desert, Dinohattan is always seen at night.
- And I Must Scream: The King apparently spent around twenty years as a formless mass of fungus, but was still sentient and conscious through it all. It's not as bad as it could be, as he was able to keep tabs on the entire city, contain Koopa, and help the Mario Bros. restore him, but it's still very unpleasant.[Lena tells Daisy what happened to her mother.]
Daisy: What about my father, is he alive?
Lena: That depends on your definition of living.
Daisy: What are you talking about?
- And the Adventure Continues: The Stinger contains a scene in which Daisy calls upon the Mario Brothers once again.
- Animated Credits Opening: Partially. The movie opens with a pixelated artstyle that shifts into live-action after the dinosaurs express their contentment with life, get wiped out by a meteor, and the parallel dimension concept is explained. This was due to focus groups, as test audiences weren't getting the concept of the parallel dimensions and needed it spelled out.
- Arc Words: "Trust the fungus" is spoken by Luigi as he urges Mario to trust in the fungi-fied king. It's later repeated by Mario as he heeds that advice.
- Artistic License – Biology: The residents of Dinohattan, including Daisy, are said to descend from reptiles and yet somewhere along the course of their evolution, they developed the ability to grow hair, and (for the women) breasts, which would technically make them mammals.
- Artistic License – Geography: The asteroid that rendered the dinosaurs extinct and opened a portal to another dimension supposedly struck what is now Brooklyn, New York City when a lot of evidence suggests that the asteroid really struck what is now the Yucatan Peninsula.
- Bad Boss: Koopa outright threatens to kill Iggy and Spike unless they recapture Mario and Luigi.Koopa: Here's what's logical to me. If you do not return with the plumbers and the rock... I shall personally kill you.
- Badass Longcoat: All the Goombas wear them.
- Bait-and-Switch: The movie opens with the iconic overworld theme from the original, but then shows pixelated scenes very different from the games' art style before moving into live-action.
- Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: Koopa has Lena give Daisy a makeover before they meet face-to-face, including a princess dress that belonged to her mother, a different hairstyle, and red lipstick.
- Batman Gambit: Mario thinks he's pulling one on Luigi during the police chase, by asking him to pick a direction and then figuring the wisest decision is whatever Luigi doesn't choose. Luigi outsmarts him though and gets him to go through a tunnel by telling him to drive away from it.
- Because You Were Nice to Me:
- The devolved Toad, who Daisy saves while on fire, gives both her and Luigi Devolution rifles to defeat Koopa.
- It's implied that Yoshi is regularly abused, but Daisy treated him kindly. The little dino later tries to defend her.
- Although they are initially blackmailed into helping them, Iggy and Spike continue to assist the Mario Bros and Daisy because they were the only ones who appreciated their efforts.
- Big Applesauce: Like quite a few other Mario adaptations, Mario and Luigi are Brooklyn-based New Yorkers.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Koopa and Scapelli, though the latter edges into Big Bad Wannabe thanks to, well, being a normal human (as opposed to an evolved dinosaur-man).
- Big Beautiful Woman: Big Bertha, the bouncer at the Boom Boom bar, is large and very strong. Mario dances with her in an attempt to get the meteorite necklace, and she later helps the Marios out when Lena and the soldiers invade the bar.
- Big "SHUT UP!": Mario tells Iggy and Spike to shut up before asking about the meteorite fragment.
- Birth/Death Juxtaposition: Done with the death of Daisy's mother. As she is being killed by the cave-in, we cut to baby Daisy being "born" (hatching from an egg) in the church.
- Blame Game:Koopa: Where's the rock?
[Iggy and Spike look at each other in confusion]
Iggy: Rock, sir?
Koopa: The meteorite piece that she wears around her neck. I told you not to forget it!
Spike: Oh, that rock!
Iggy: (to Spike) I told you not to forget it!
Koopa: (to Iggy) And I told you to remind him!
- Body Horror:
- Daisy's father was transformed into a huge fungus that chokes the city.
- Toad is forcibly devolved into a Goomba.
- Bond One-Liner: Luigi makes one in reference to Lena being fossilized. "She sure makes an impression."
- Brick Joke:
- Koopa orders a pizza about halfway through the movie. Later, as he's about to prepare his Goomba army, he wonders what's taking his pizza so long. Finally, as he has cornered the Mario Brothers in the climax, he gets a phone call from the pizza joint that his pizza has arrived.
- As soon as Mario and Luigi are trying to get their bearings around Koopa's city, a cyclist collides with a yellow car and is electrocuted. In one of the last scenes, before the final confrontation with Koopa, the same car can be seen with a skeleton on the hood.
- Brooklyn Rage: Mario has a temperamental personality and, appropriately enough, sports a Brooklyn accent. Luigi is considerably more mellow.
- The Cameo: Lance Henriksen appears as the Mushroom King for about five seconds.
- Canon Foreigner:
- Captivity Harmonica: Toad, who is depicted as a street musician, plays one after he and the Mario Bros. are arrested, and placed in giant cages. He even plays it after his de-evolution to a Goomba.
- Card-Carrying Villain: When Mario and Luigi meet up with their "attorney," the attorney tells them that they don't want to meet Koopa, as he is "one evil, egg-sucking son of a snake." When it is revealed that Koopa was the person who acted as their attorney, Luigi expresses shock, to which Koopa then repeats the above description and asks "Did I lie?"
- Chest of Medals: Koopa's military uniform has tons of medals, as well as spikes.
- Clipped-Wing Angel: Koopa is de-evolved into a T-rex near the end, but easily de-evolved further into primordial slime.
- Composite Character:
- Daisy has Princess Peach's personality and looks with Daisy's name and kingdom. Done because the writers felt "Toadstool" (the only other name available at the time) was "just weird".
- In addition to Foreman Spike, some fans believe that Scapelli is based on Donkey Kong as well, due to his harassing Daisy at a construction site and his de-evolution into a monkey.
- Cool Car: The Koopa-Troopamobiles, aka the Dinohattan police cars.
- Crapsack World: Dinohattan is a sprawling police state filled with crime and fungus. Toad suggests that life wasn't always so bad, but things went south fast after Koopa took over.
- Crooked Contractor: Scapelli, who makes his Establishing Character Moment by talking to Daisy about how her archaeology work is getting in the way of his construction contracts like a standard big-shot member of The Mafia (lecherous looks included) and sends goons (who don't even bother to avoid wearing stuff with the company logo) late at night to sabotage the site.
- Crowd Hockey: At the Boom Boom Bar, Lena and her soldiers try to take the meteorite necklace away. Mario and Luigi keep it away from her a couple of times by ducking through the crowd and tossing it back and forth, but eventually she takes it from them.
- Cut Short: The film left room for a sequel in the ending, but any plans for a sequel were all but cancelled due to the bad reviews and middling sales for the movie.
- Damsel in Distress: Daisy, Daniella, and other girls from Brooklyn were all captured.
- Damsel out of Distress: With help from Yoshi, Daisy manages to escape briefly and alert the Marios to her location, as well as save Toad from being set on fire.
- Darker and Edgier: The "Mushroom Kingdom" is a Blade Runner-esque dystopia being slowly overtaken by sentient fungus. Goombas and Koopas are seven-foot-tall reptilian humanoids with tiny heads, and industrial-looking flamethrowers are the film's answer to the Fire Flower.
- Defiant to the End: Toad continues to rant at and badmouth Koopa as he is shoved into the Devo Chamber.Toad: Our old king, you tried to get rid of him! But the king's everywhere! You can't get rid of him! EVER!!
- Delusions of Eloquence: Iggy and Spike think they're smarter when they're mentally evolved, but despite the added brainpower they're just as incompetent.
- Depraved Bisexual: Lena is a power-hungry villain, and shows interest in both Koopa and Daisy. The movie writers confirmed she was bisexual as well.
- Devolution Device: Koopa's Devo-Chamber, which he uses to create his Goombas. Near the end of the film, portable gun versions were created, which Koopa tests on Scapelli, turning him into a monkey. The Mario Bros. later use the devo guns on Koopa.
- Disappointed in You: Koopa says this to Iggy and Spike when Lena informs him of their, in her words, "preaching your overthrow at the Boom Boom Bar".
- Disaster Dominoes: Minor example. When the Goombas are distracted by Toad's harmonica playing and stand in a line, a frustrated Koopa punches one, causing the expected chain reaction.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Luigi was calling their house to see if they have any messages. He has his eyes on Daisy while a message plays, where a guy fanatically tells them he's got a very huge flood, but he gives her the phone and turns it off.Mario: Any jobs?
Luigi: Uh... no.
- Doorstop Baby: Daisy was left on the door of a convent.
- Dull Surprise: Koopa goes into this when Mario sets the Bob-Omb.
- Dumb Dinos: While exceptions exist, the sapient dinosaur-people are generally more stupid, violent, and crude than their human counterparts.
- Dumb Muscle: The entire point of the Goombas, as Koopa takes every opportunity to hammer in.
- Dystopia Is Hard: Seen in-universe as Koopa's motivation. His dictatorship mismanaged Dinohattan so terribly that the world is running out of resources, so he plans to leave everyone there behind while he takes over Earth.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The popularity of dinosaurs with children in the '90s thanks to the "Dinosaur Renaissance" is thought to be the reason they were so integrated into the setting. Super Mario World's Dinosaur Land was also cited as a reason for the setting.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Koopa turns minor antagonist Anthony Scapelli into a monkey, and intends to do the same to the other humans.
- Evil Is Dumb: Iggy and Spike, after being made smarter through forced evolution, eventually join up with the Mario Brothers instead. It's implied from their statement to Daisy about being her father's most loyal supporters that their stupidity was probably the result of brainwashing by King Koopa.
- And you can see it coming a mile away, from the moment Spike comes out of the machine.Spike: Ahh, our not-so-benevolent dictator, as it were!
- And you can see it coming a mile away, from the moment Spike comes out of the machine.
- Evolutionary Levels: Koopa "evolves" or "de-evolves" several characters physically and mentally, later weaponizing the technology as portable guns. Interestingly, the shooting script for the movie avoids this by explaining that the technology doesn't reverse the evolutionary process; it's just a standard Transformation Ray that forcibly mutated (or evolved) beings by triggering latent genes. Separate settings were meant to affect either an organism's physical or intellectual state.
- Exact Words: Seen when Daisy asks Lena for help to escape.Daisy: Lena, will you help me get out of here?
Lena: Alright... (pulls out a knife) I'd love to get you out of here!
- Daniella is based on Mario's first girlfriend Pauline. This is made even more obvious in the script, which reveals that Daniella's full name is "Daniella Pauline Verducci".
- King Koopa himself is one for Dennis Hopper's memorable villain, Frank Booth.
- Anthony Scapelli is based on Foreman Spike from Wrecking Crew, in that both are mean construction company bosses who are always trying to interfere with work of the Mario Bros.
- Fakin' MacGuffin: Mario decides to bluff Koopa into thinking he has the meteorite necklace by holding shoelaces in his hand so Luigi has time to get the real one.
- Fan Edit: A 20th anniversary one was made. It can be seen here.
- Fan Sequel: Courtesy of a web comic.
- Fantastic Racism: Koopa just cannot let that mammal thing go. If the "throwback" line is any indication, Koopa also looks down on Yoshi and any other dinosaur who hasn't evolved.
- Foreshadowing: In the scene where Koopa de-evolves Toad, he notes that his ancestor was Tyrannosaurus Rex, also curling his hands at chest level like the dinosaur's arms. Koopa is eventually de-evolved into a Tyrannosaurus.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Daisy uses the light-gun communicator, the name of Koopa's city◊ can be seen, as can the various◊ systems◊ the communicator taps into.
- Fungus Humongous: Taken to a literal level with the transformed Mushroom King.
- Funny Background Event: After Koopa's defeat, Mario, Luigi, and Daisy can be seen dancing with Bertha and the old lady that stole the rock earlier.
- Genius Loci: The fungus, who's actually the transformed king, occasionally drops weapons (like Bob-omb) to aid Mario and Luigi and attempts to communicate with them.
- Gone Horribly Right: After finally getting sick of Iggy and Spike's stupidity and incompetence, Koopa uses the Devo Chamber to vastly augment their intelligence before sending them out to the Koopahari Desert to recapture Mario and Luigi. However, Iggy and Spike are now smart enough to think for themselves and pull a Heel–Face Turn.
- Good Republic, Evil Empire: Inverted, as the good King Bowser was overthrown by the despotic President Koopa.
- Green Aesop: Koopa mismanaged Dinohattan so terribly that the people are running out of food, water, and clean air, prompting him to invade Earth, where the same thing would likely happen. While made clearer in the novelization than in the finished film, Daisy's father managed things wisely and ensured there was enough for everyone.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Lena is intensely jealous of Daisy and Koopa's interest in her.
- Groin Attack: Mario hands Luigi his boots by dropping them on his crotch.
- Heel–Face Turn: Iggy and Spike turn good after becoming smart enough to think for themselves. They claimed to have always been the royal family's "loyal supporters", but who knows if it's true.
- Hellish Pupils: Koopa's eyes revert to a dinosaur's pupils after he's briefly trapped in the evolution machine.
- He's Got a Weapon!: "It's a BOB-OMB!" "HE'S GOT A BOB-OMB!"
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- Lena ends up literally fossilized by the very power she tried to use to merge dimensions.
- Koopa is defeated with his own devo guns.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: The introduction comments on how the dinosaurs evolved into "intelligent, vicious, aggressive beings... just like us."
- I Choose to Stay: Daisy decides to stay in the other world to repair the damages caused by Koopa and leaves Luigi.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Between Koopa and Daisy, though Lena gets in on it a bit as well.
- If Jesus, Then Aliens: Luigi is presented this way at the beginning of the movie. His hobbies include weird tabloid magazines and bizarre mystery shows, and his mind is open to pretty much all of it. It's presumably the reason he so easily accepts the idea of an alternate dimension. This is echoed at the end when Mario comes around to his way of thinking after the unbelievable things they'd witnessed first-hand.Daisy: You gotta come with me, I need your help!
Luigi: What's wrong?
Daisy: You're never gonna believe this.
Mario: I believe it!
Luigi: You do?
Mario: Oh, I believe.
- In-Name-Only: There's the Mario Bros., a captured princess, Yoshi, and the Koopas, but almost everything else is very far removed from the games.
- Ironic Echo: "See ya later, Alligator!" is used first when Koopa de-evolves Toad, and later when Mario and Luigi de-evolve Koopa.
- It's All About Me: Seen as Lena tries to kill Daisy.Daisy: Why are you doing this?
Lena: Because everyone deserves what they've earned. And I've earned this!
- It's Personal: Koopa grows to hate Mario after he's briefly put through the Devo Chamber, and targets him specifically when he attempts to take over."I'LL KILL THAT PLUMBER!"
- Jump Scare: A surprisingly effective one when the Tyrannosaurus lunges out.
- Kick the Dog: Koopa, in anger for making a bad impression on Daisy, literally kicks Yoshi.Koopa: Throwback!
- Large Ham:
- Koopa is played by Dennis Hopper. Did you expect anything less?
- Fiona Shaw's performance as Lena is pretty cold and understated... until she's trying to merge the dimensions. Then she reaches Rita Repulsa levels of hamminess. Of course, considering she had just been severely electrocuted, her new hamminess may be the result of having her mind fried.
- Laser-Guided Karma: For his efforts to sabotage Daisy's archaeological dig and the Mario Bros' plumbing business, Scapelli gets turned into a monkey by Koopa, as a test of his devo-gun.
- Laser Sight: Mario and Luigi get arrested by Koopa's men and have their mug shots taken, but the cameras have laser sights, making them briefly believe they are guns.
- Living Dinosaurs: The inhabitants of the parallel dimension are evolved dinosaurs.
- Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: In the climatic battle against Koopa, Mario and Luigi lose their caps due to the strong beams from their devo guns.
- Lost World: It's implied that dinosaurs have escaped from the parallel dimension into our world and humans into theirs throughout history.
- Mage in Manhattan: Koopa's whole plan is to merge his dimension with ours so he can devolve everyone into monkeys and take over both worlds. He even temporarily teleports to Manhattan, but only manages to fire his de-evolution gun on the secondary antagonist before he's sucked back to the Mushroom Kingdom.
- Male Gaze: Daisy's necklace dangling over Bertha's ample cleavage. Mario tries his best Leisure Suit Larry routine, but really, he's just desperate to get the crystal back.
- Meat Moss: The King is slowly but surely strangling Dinohattan with his tendrils.
- Merged Reality: Koopa wants to make this happen so he can take over the resulting merged world. It briefly happens until Luigi and Daisy manage to reverse it, and in the shooting script it went even further with New York locales being displaced into Dinohattan and vice-versa.
- Military Coup: It is strongly implied that this was the method in which Koopa took control of Dinohattan.
- Missing Mom: Daisy's mother is killed escaping Koopa.
- Mood Whiplash: The dancing Goombas in the elevator scene is followed by an intense scene of Lena attempting to kill Daisy and stabbing Yoshi, then goes back to the dancing Goombas.
- Mook Lieutenant: Sergeant Simon first appears to be just a random Dinohattan desk sergeant but is given increasingly more important duties.
- Mythology Gag: Plenty to the games and even other Mario media. A more comprehensive list can be seen here.
- Much like the fish's depiction in the Nintendo Comics System, the movie's Big Bertha develops a crush on Mario.
- Luigi thought he was flying after running and jumping off the elevator shaft. Turned out a hook caught his overalls.
- Near the beginning of the movie, the Mario Bros. pass by a store called "Mr. Video III", a reference to one of Mario's original names, "Mr. Video".
- The barrels of the "Fry Guy" flamethrower guns look vaguely like red flower petals while they are obviously named after the enemy.
- The cartridges which power the jump-boots (themselves a reference to the Bros.' incredible jumping ability in the games and visually modeled after Thwomps) resemble Bullet Bills.
- Various bars/restaurants are named "Thwomp," "Bullet Bill's" and "Rex."
- A guy is selling Tweeters in hot dog buns.
- Koopa is officially a president in the film, but in Toad's song he snidely refers to him as the "evil 'King' Koopa."
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: There's a brief moment when Simon passes another cop in the hallway, who raises his arm in a salute and says "Hail Koopa."
- Never My Fault: Iggy blames Spike for getting the wrong girl, and for forgetting about the meteorite piece.
- Nice Hat: Near the climax of the film, Mario dons a red flat cap and Luigi a green baseball cap.
- Noodle Incident: Iggy and Spike were the ones who kidnapped the Brooklyn girls (and one from Queens), because they mistook them for Daisy.Spike: Wrong again. How many times we got it wrong?
Iggy: You got it wrong 5 times.
- No Ontological Inertia: The King suddenly turns back to normal without the need of re-evolution as soon as Koopa is defeated.
- Off-the-Shelf FX: The de-evolution guns are Super Scopes (the SNES' light gun) painted black. This actually works pretty well, considering the Super Scope's sci-fi design.
- Oh, Crap!: Subtle one for Koopa with Spike's first words after being evolved:Spike (toward Koopa): Ah! Our not-so-benevolent dictator!
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: Princess Daisy wears a meteorite fragment around her neck that she never takes off since it was the only thing left with her when she was left in the human world. The meteorite fragment is the one thing Koopa needs to orchestrate his takeover of our world. Earlier scripts indicate the metallic egg was also necessary for Koopa's plan to merge the dimensions.
- Parental Abandonment: The Marios' parents died when Luigi was very young, leaving Mario to raise him alone.
- People's Republic of Tyranny: As evidenced by the various Vote Koopa posters, Dinohattan was at least officially a Democratic Republic. Unfortunately, Koopa, their current president, managed to remain in office via false elections. King Toadstool and Princess Daisy point toward it originally being a Constitutional Monarchy, suggesting Koopa performed a coup against the ruling house and "reformed" the government to give him complete control.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: One of the few Mario media that averts it and shows Mario and Luigi actually plumbing.
- Politicians Kiss Babies: Some of Koopa's election posters show him doing this.
- Power Fist: Lena wears brass knuckles for her final outfit, which she uses to shove a man aside by grabbing his face.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: If you are going to adapt source material that cannot be adapted, then this is necessary.
- President Evil: Koopa is largely referred to as President Koopa in the film. As elaborated on in the junior novelization, the people can vote for anyone in the election... as long as it's Koopa.
- Product Placement: The Bob-Omb has the Reebok logo on the bottom of its feet.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Luigi and Daisy. Though it wasn't the first time they were paired up, Nintendo wouldn't start consistently Paring the Spares till the 2000s, and even then, this Daisy is more based on Peach than she is the actual Daisy.
- Promotion to Parent: Was apparently the case with Mario and Luigi. Mario, being the older brother, looked after Luigi since he was young.Luigi: Mario here brought me up. He's been my mother my whole life.
- Railing Kill: Any time a person is looking away from the railing, they're likely to fall over it.
- Ret-Canon: Certain traits made it into the series proper, such as Princess Daisy depicted as a love interest to Luigi and the Mario Brothers' last names.
- Repetitive Name: Mario Mario and Luigi Mario are their full names.
- The earlier cartoon series and some other areas, such as the Nintendo Power magazine, also stated this to be their mutual last name.
- Running Gag:
- Koopa ordering pizza, which culminated in a cut scene of the delivery boy dancing on Koopa's de-evolved slime.
- Luigi going the wrong way when driving.
- Save the Princess: Mario and Luigi rescue Daisy, Daniella, and the other girls Spike and Iggy kidnapped.
- Scenery Porn: Dinohattan isn't the most beautiful set in the history of film, but its design and construction is so well-thought out and elaborate that you don't even care.
- Seen It All: By the time Daisy introduces Mario and Luigi to her father, who's currently a de-evolved giant fungus, Luigi treats the conversation as perfectly normal and thanks him for his help.
- Shackle Seat Trap: Koopa's devolution chamber has a chair that straps people in and forces them into the machine. Mario and Luigi later use this against Koopa by knocking him into the chair, briefly de-evolving him so they can escape.
- Shipper on Deck: Luigi immediately likes Daisy, but he struggles to ask her out. Mario coaches him through it.
- Shirtless Scene: While the brothers are in the Koopahari Desert, Luigi has his shirt off the majority of the time, providing some fanservice.
- Shout-Out: Two to The Wizard of Oz.
- Upon arriving in the other dimension, Luigi says "I got a feeling we ain't in Brooklyn no more."
- The Thwomp Stompers work by clicking your heels together.
- Small Role, Big Impact: The taser-wielding granny who briefly steals the meteorite necklace is the main reason the rock keeps changing hands throughout the movie.
- Smelly Skunk: A skunk appears in the brief animated portion of the opening credits.
- So Much for Stealth: Mario tries to sneak into the room the Brooklyn girls are being held in to rescue them. Daniella spots him, but he puts a finger to his lips and she gets the hint. Then another girl spots him and calls out to him. He sighs in annoyance before jumping down and taking out the guard.
- Sssssnake Talk: Koopa talks like this, though oddly only in his first scene.
- Spikes of Doom:
- The hallways of Koopa's tower are lined with these as a shout-out to the walls in Super Mario Bros. 3.
- Dinohattan's inhabitants wear these as part of their clothing.
- Star Scraper: This is how Dinohattan appears on Koopa's toy globe, surrounded by desert and nothing else.
- The Starscream: Lena eventually becomes this in the second half of the film, when, after a failed attempt to get Koopa to reconsider focusing on Daisy, she decides to betray him and achieve her goals on her own.
- The Stinger: A Japanese video game company is interested in producing something about... Iggy and Spike.
- Stripped to the Bone: Lena is fossilized by the meteorite's power, ending up as a skeleton.
- Stripperiffic: Some of Lena's outfits, as well as dancers at the Boom Boom bar in a scene that was cut from theatrical release. You can still see them in the background in some scenes.
- Super Soldier: Koopa was attempting to create a new breed of soldiers by transforming the denizens of his universe into exaggerated mutations of their ancestral DNA.
- Terrified of Germs: Koopa. In his first scene, while ranting about ruling a world overwhelmed with fungus and slime, he dunks his hands in mud to sterilize them. When he first meets the Mario brothers, he shakes their hands, but wipes his hand off with tissues afterward; after assaulting Luigi soon afterward, he has a police officer spray his hands with disinfectant. Taken Up to Eleven in a deleted scenenote , where he devolves a lab technician into primordial ooze simply for sneezing in his presence.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Iggy and Spike are Koopa's two main henchmen and are never seen apart.
- Tiny-Headed Behemoth: The Goombas are done this way, in the exact opposite of how they looked in the games.
- Title Drop: Seen near the end of the movie.Our Miraculous World Newscaster: I'd call them the Super Mario Bros.!
- Transformation Sequence: After spending the first 2/3 of the movie wearing various outfits that have nothing to do with their traditional video game appearance, the Mario Brothers find red/blue and green/blue jumpsuits in a maintenance locker, followed by a dramatic reveal shot of them in costume, complete with caps and jump-boots.
- Two Words: Added Emphasis: Mario uses this trope to emphasize "IM-POSSIBLE."
- "IM-PROBABLE. UN-LIKELY. But never IM-POSSIBLE."
- Tyrannosaurus rex: Koopa is descended from the T. rex and turns into one in the end. Yoshi also somewhat resembles a miniature tyrannosaur.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: If Scapelli's illegal construction hadn't unblocked a way through, Koopa wouldn't have been able to get back into our dimension and try to remerge them.
- Utility Belt: Mario and Luigi carry their own tool belts (as they did in the live action segments of the animated series). Mario is attached in a sentimental way to his belt, treating it as a friend. He tries to make this lesson stick with Luigi.Mario: Strap your belt on, kid. We're goin' in!
- Vanilla Edition: The movie has only had three releases in the United States: one on VHS and two on DVD. The first DVD was released in 2003 and features nothing other than the movie and a horrible transfer that touts widescreen, but is actually a chopped fullscreen. The second DVD release came in 2010 and is the same exact movie, just with the logos re-arranged on the packaging. The Region 2 Blu-Ray release finally averted this, having a full restoration and many extras.
- "The Villain Sucks" Song: Toad gets himself arrested for singing one. Mojo Nixon, Toad's actor, uploaded an extended version to YouTube.
- Weapon Stomp: Lena steps on the meteorite necklace as Mario and Luigi try to retrieve it.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Koopa plans to invade Earth and subjugate its people and resources for his own species' gain.Koopa: What I care about is the future of our species!
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Quite a few important plot threads are left unresolved and would have been Left Hanging had they not been put on the sidelines by numerous script rewrites and reshoots. Namely, the parallel world is still slowly dying from lack of clean, renewable resources, Toad and innumerable prisoners are still de-evolved, and rival plumbers Mike and Doug never get their comeuppance. The King remaining a citywide fungus would have been this had Lance Henriksen not cameoed in a reshoot where his character returns to human form after Koopa's defeat. It's also never revealed whether or not Scapelli changed back to human.
- Who Would Want to Watch Us?: In The Stinger, a Japanese game company is interested in developing a game about... Iggy and Spike.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: Spike, after being turned super-intelligent, asks Iggy what the square root of 26,481 is, while delivering the answer immediately: 191. The thing is, 191 is actually the square root of 36,481. Though whether this is the fault of the writers for doing math wrong, the fault of the actor for just messing up the first digit, or actually deliberate (likely to show that Iggy and Spike aren't too intelligent, or just that it hasn't kicked in yet) is up in the air.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Despite Luigi, Daisy, and the Brooklyn girls chasing Lena, none of them do a thing to stop her from trying to merge the dimensions.
- Adaptational Badass: The Marios are drawn less like 1990s Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo, and more like badass 2010s action heroes.
- Badass Longcoat: Toad wears a longcoat similar to the Goomba uniform.
- Big Bad: Wart.
- Co-Dragons: The villain is served by a male and female pair.
- Darker and Edgier: So far the sequel is mostly drama and action, with little of the comedy and none of the slapstick heavily used in the film.
- Desert Punk: Much of the story is set in the desert and sees the characters wearing desert-appropriate outfits.
- Fan Sequel: The project began when the SMB Archive staff interviewed the film's writer and the discussion turned to the unproduced sequel.
- Fingerless Gloves: Daisy can be seen wearing these in the story's opening. Mario, Luigi and Toad sport them as well.
- The Multiverse: The Portal Creatures invade the parallel dimension from yet another universe.
- Named by the Adaptation: While the Mushroom King was referred to as Bowser in supplementary materials, he was unnamed in the film. The comic goes with Reznor, a reference to the fortress boss from Super Mario World.
- Portal Door: Daisy accidentally opens one in the ancient Portal-Guardian chamber.
- Word of Dante: Invoked. Steven Applebaum and Ryan Hoss of the SMB Archive, the sole website devoted to the film, are scripting the story.
- Word of God: Invoked. The story is based off ideas from original writer Parker Bennett, as well as backstory he and partner Terry Runté wrote that didn't make it into the film.