This post may be a little unorthodox. But these kind are the most interesting, anyway. As many video game fans know, back in '93 a "Super Mario Bros." movie adaptation was made based on the '93 script by Parker Bennett, Terry Runte and Ed Solomon, but it cheated the fans in such an epic manner that it seemed more like "The Crow" than "Super Mario". But very few video game fans know of the fact that there was one more, unused script for the film, written by Tom S. Parker and Jim Jennewein in 1991. Thanks to the website run by Ryan Hoss, smbmovie.com, people have been able to download the original script and actually read it - and no doubt about it, I was one among them. The original screenplay is so different from the '93 film that one can't even begin to compare them and wonder "What if?". Would the 1991 script have made a better film than we got in the end? That was the same thing I asked myself so I decided to make a special review of it to compare them back to back.
After the two heroes enter a pipe to save Hildy, the princess in the story and Luigi's love interest, they come to a new dimension, in a world where Koopa wants to crown himself as the new king. Interestingly, though, Koopa picks up Hildy in Brooklyn disguised as a human, but his fellow magician Beedleman transforms him back into a giant lizard. In a dialogue between Beedleman and Koopa, it is discovered that the giant reptile’s motivation for all this is because his “father allowed their land to be seized”, which is why he aims to marry the princess and become king, so that no one will dare to take anything from him again. The character of princess isn’t especially well written, but she has her moments, like when she says this to Koopa: “You’re not my type…You’re not even my species!” Many jokes backfire, though, like when a toadstool sprouts on Toad’s head, which he then eats, or the dumb idea that Hildy slowly transforms into a lizard when she eats Beedleman's magic chocolates that will make her love Koopa.
In a twist of faith, Mario, Luigi and Toad are sent by Wizard Woltan on a mission to go to the "cave of no return" and prove themselves to be the chosen ones who will get the land rid of Koopa. In one especially elaborated scene that many would have loved to see get made, a camp where Toadstoolian slave workers throw shovels full of dragon fruit, Mario, Luigi and Toad jump into a cart hooked to a rope and descend down the mountain. When the Hammer bros. follow them in another cart and slice the rope with their axe, there’s a neat chase where they continue racing on the road, but the Hammer’s cart gets crashed into a tree, while the trio’s cart gets crashed to a stump, from which a hag shows up and hides them from the Koopa’s henchmen, but gives Mario the “juiciest kiss in movie history”, as it says in the script, in exchange. Along their way they stumble rather arbitrarily on a dinosaur egg where Yoshi hatches and they enter the "pit of no return", get some magic items and continue to go to stop the wedding.
The script is somehow ambiguous. On one hand, it offers some very interesting moments, yet on the other hand it seems some of those moments were only half-explored (the special powers actually show up in the story, but only once when Luigi gets a leaf and gains the ability to fly in order to save Toad from falling into the pit, yet it all remains just on that. What a missed opportunity: imagine just if Mario and Luigi had gotten all the powers at their disposal?). The producers were probably worried that the whole budget might explode, which is why they abandoned this script. The '93 film had a 42.000.000 $ budget and I instantly remembered Jim Henson's '86 fantasy film "The Labyrinth" where the authors created a fascinating little world that bared such a resemblance to the Super Mario world that it was astonishing, down right to some Yoshi looking dinosaurs in some scenes. It's even more surprising that "Labyrinth's" budget was only 25.000.000 $, almost half of the "Mario's".
The '93 film had many things going against it, but at least it had two going for it: it was a 'guilty pleasure' and it was fun, which is why it got a 5/10 from me. This script is heavy handed, but as a whole it's better and would have probably made a 6/10 film, maybe even a 7/10 if it was directed the right way. If they ever decide to remake the Mario film, this 115 page script would be a good starting point.