The Very First Video Game Movie
Super Mario Brothers: The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach (1986)
Starring: Toru Furuya and Yu Mizushima
Directed by Masami Hata
Everyone has heard of the Super Mario Brothers. They’re two of the greatest video game characters of all time. Everyone has played at least three of their games. But not many people know that the movie adaptations of video games started with the Mario Brothers, as well.
Many people know about the 1993 flop, Super Mario Bros, starring Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper. But while that film did begin the English film adaptations of video games there was another Mario Brothers film that came out in 1986. This one was animated and started the entire video game movie era. Not many people know about this film because it was only released in Japan. It’s called Super Mario Bros: the Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach… just roles right off your tongue, doesn’t it?
The plot goes that one night while playing the FamCom (the Japanese version of the NES) Mario gets an unexpected visit from Princess Peach when she comes out of the TV!!! Peach begs Mario to protect her from the evil King Bowser, but of course Mario is no match for him and he ends up kidnapping Peach anyway.
The next day, Mario and Luigi receive an unexpected visit from a weird looking blue dog??? The dog ends up leading the brothers to the lost Mushroom Kingdom, where they are assigned, by the Mushroom Hermit, to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser.
In order to defeat Bowser, the Hermit has instructed the brothers to find three key items to help them: the Mushroom, the Fire Flower, and the Star. Only with all three items will they be able to defeat King Bowser.
So the brothers head off on their journey, guided by the blue dog, named Kibidango. Along the way, they encounter all of their enemies from the first video game like the Goombas, Hammer Bros, Lakitu and his Spinies, Koopa Troopas, Bullet Bills, and many more. Even the coins that Mario and Luigi collect in the video games make appearances. YES… THE STORY WRITERS FOUND A PURPOSE TO PUT THE COINS INTO THIS MOVIE!!!! It is said that there are buried treasures throughout the Mushroom Kingdom, and Luigi can’t resist the thought of getting rich. Hence, the coins!
The movie does have some differences and weird moments. First off, Mario and Luigi are NOT plumbers! Instead they own a grocery store! Second, Mario has a moment where he gets all fired up to rescue Peach and suddenly he turns into a desperado?? Mario’s Italian, not Mexican!! Thirdly, Luigi wears blue instead of green. I know that these were the early days of the Mario Bros and they weren’t established icons yet, but still, watching this movie today, it was pretty weird seeing these differences.
One of the biggest questions: What is the purpose of the blue dog, Kibidango? Well, I'd tell you, but for people that are curious about seeing this movie, I don't want to give away too many spoilers.
As usual, Luigi isn’t much of a hero in this film. He focuses more on finding treasure and getting rich. Mario does most of the fighting. But once in a while Luigi shows up to help.
The biggest problem that I have with the movie was the voice of Princess Peach. Her voice was loud enough to make your ears bleed. Everyone else has quiet voices, so you have to turn up the volume to hear what they’re saying, but then Peach comes out of nowhere and says something that will blow out your eardrums! Why is she so loud? Was the voice actress standing to close to the microphone?
This film first came to my attention when I was researching video game movies. I just saw it for myself recently by watching an English Fan Dubbed version on Youtube.
The movie is just about 60 minutes long and overall I can easily say that it is very loyal to the first Mario Bros game for the NES. Much more so than Super Mario Bros (1993) ever was. This movie is nothing special by today’s standards but back then I’ll bet fans had loved it.
Super Mario Bros: the Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach. If you ever want to see the very first video game movie adaptation, this is it. Definitely not the best but not too bad either. I believe it’s worth just ONE look.
Overall Rating: 2.5/5