In 1985, Nintendo released Super Mario Brothers in North America. Its flagship franchise took the then fledging video gaming industry by storm.
With 8-bit surreal landscapes populated with a brilliant blue sky, white clouds, verdant plants, cartoony adversaries, and the two plucky protagonists, Super Mario Brothers became synonymous with family-friendly electronic entertainment.
Fast forward to 2013, and the franchise has gotten an astonishing makeover.
Written and directed by Evan Daugherty, The Four Players reframes the backstories of Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and her devoted courtier Toad in a series of four live-action, dark and gritty cinematic shorts.
While the concept may sound very dubious on paper, the execution is a brilliant success.
I attribute this accomplishment to:
- the exceptionally smart script
- gorgeous production designs by Holly Conrad and Jacob Thomsen
- sensational cinematography
- acknowledgement of iconic gameplay hallmarks in the form of clever easter eggs
In my opinion, the standout among these exceptional shorts is The Soldier, which looks like a forgotten Guillermo del Toro movie!
All four installments are available for viewing below.
The Fixer (Mario) One man decides he can't let things remain broken any longer:
The Addict (Luigi) receives a reminder of his past that forces him to rethink his present:
The Star (Princess Peach) contemplates happier times while suffering at the hands of her captors:
The Soldier (Toad) takes desperate action for the sake of his kingdom:
So, did you enjoy this revisionist take on Super Mario Brothers? Why or why not?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!
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