Mario Goes to Hollywood: Games in the Movies

September 29, 2003

If there is one thing that I like more than a good video game it is a good movie. I would even go as far to call myself a movie buff. The definition of a movie buff, if us movie buffs are honest with ourselves, is this: a person who watches way too many movies and spends that much more time analyzing them, thus becoming a movie snob. Yes, shamefully, I will admit that I am a movie snob. I turn my nose up at any movie with the name Vin Diesel in the credits. I shudder at the thought of Steven Segal and Jean Claude Van Damme attempting to do the thing that others call acting. I just can’t help it. Really, I can’t. Let me explain…

Once upon a time when I was in high school (and actually this started way before then, but high school is as far back as I will go) I was an “actress.” I was put in the Senior Drama class when I was just a sophomore (the earliest point in which this could occur) and all was well. I was happy and I loved just about all movies. That was until Mr. Sweatmon, the theatre teacher, got a hold of me. We watched countless classic movies, pausing every fifteen minutes to discuss which famous millionaire actor was “indicating acting” or “forcing emotion.” I critiqued them all; James Dean, Humphrey Bogart, Catherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, the list goes on and on. So, it was at this point when I became a movie snob. Once you critique the people you were brought up to respect as the pioneers of their medium, you can critique anyone. But enough of that…back to what we want to focus on here…video games and movies.

Every once in a while someone will come along and attempt to take a video game that we all enjoyed, like Super Mario Bros, and try to make it into a movie. And that is where I can’t help but ask “what were they thinking?” I have a bone to pick with a lot of movies and the people who write them…but to take a beloved classic video game and put someone like John Leguizamo as Luigi??? (alright, before I get killed by some John Leguizamo fan, Mr. Leguizamo has since proved himself to be a fine patron of the arts) I honestly don’t know what happens when people try to turn video games into movies. Do brain cells get lost in the process? Are the creators so out of it that they can’t see that the video game already has a storyline and characters? Why change what was already a good thing?

So here is where my little harebrained experiment comes into play. For the next couple of months I am going to do the unthinkable (well, previously unthinkable to me anyway) and I am going to watch the movies I so despise. I will put the movie snob in me aside and I am going to travel down the video game made into movie road with all of you. For each movie that I watch, I am first going to go back and play the video game (be it for the first time or for the millionth) that the movie is based on. The first up on my list is the first, the classic, Super Mario Bros. If you have any movie that you want to see compared to its video game counterpart, let me know. I am going to try to tackle them all, seeing as how there aren’t too many of them.

So the next time you hear from me, I will be up to my knees in cheesy movies and video games. So wish me luck, and kiss the movie snob in me good bye…well at least for a little while.

Next week: Mario and Luigi make their big screen debut!