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SUPER MARIO: Illumination Head Talks Low Expectations And Working With Shigeru Miyamoto


There is a Super Mario movie coming. Relax. It is not our Editor In Chief Mario-Francisco Robles running around in one of his Superman shirts [Editor’s Note: “But it should be.”]. Nor will it be reminiscent of the live action movie in 1993. This time, it feels like they are doing things correctly.

Illumination – home of the Despicable Me franchise – is tasked with making an animated version of the most famous video game character of all time. Illumination head Chris Meledandri wants to do things right. He mentions the 1993 movie starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo, and actually appreciates that it wasn’t done well.

“I like that this was not done well the first time,” he said. “I think that’s more exciting or more worthy than simply making another version of a film that was done incredibly well to begin with.”

He’s right. The job is easier. The bar is lower, and the comparisons will almost be non-existent. But the biggest difference is that he is involving Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto in making the movie.

“We are keeping him front and center in the creation of this film. I’ve rarely seen that happen with any adaptation where the original creative voice is being embraced like we’re embracing Miyamoto. There’s a history in Hollywood of people believing that they know better than the people responsible for a property. I’ve made that mistake before.”

Again, he’s right. Think about it. There hasn’t really been a great movie adaptation of a video game. Resident Evil might come the closest. Maybe the key is involving the person who knows the character – and the world – best.

Melendandri certainly knows that making a movie starring the most famous plumber in the universe is a daunting feat.

“It’s an ambitious task. The challenge is taking things that are so thin in their original form and finding depth that doesn’t compromise what generations of fans love about Mario, but also feels organic to the iconography and can support a three-act structure.”

The intentions and process so far certainly seem to be going in the right direction. Maybe this will be the one to break the video game movie curse.

There is a hybrid (animation mixed with live action) Sonic The Hedgehog movie coming soon. There is also a Detective Pikachu movie coming, and a live action Mega Man movie as well! The Super Smash Bros Cinematic Universe is beginning to take shape. (This is a joke, not an exclusive, but it could maybe be happen.)

Are you looking forward to a Super Mario movie?

If talking Nintendo adaptations is your thing, you may want to check out this week’s episode of The Revengers Podcast. A listener sent in a question about adapting Nintendo properties like Super Smash Bros.Legend of ZeldaMetroid, or Star Fox into a TV series and the hosts discuss how they’d approach it.

Source: Variety


Matt Vernier

Lifelong geek who is passionate about movies. I review things on my blog: Find me on Twitter! @MattV525 - Inquiries:

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