Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Your De-Evolution Will Be a Living Nightmare

Dinosaur Tracking has posted a list of the five worst dinosaur movies ever made. Of course, such a thing is open to endless debate, and as I haven't seen any of the movies on the list, I'm not prepared to argue with them.
I would add one to the list, or at least offer it for consideration: Super Mario Brothers. The makers of SMB had the fine idea to take an inherently stupid idea for a movie (stereotypical Italian plumber jumps on turtles, saves princess) and inject some extremely sketchy pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo into it. They cook up an "evolution ray" to explain why there are fungus-people and lizard-people. I mean, I can accept that Hollywood needs to depart from the strict facts of existence to make a viable piece of entertainment. It's nice when it can at least be a little clever. Exchanges like the following don't quite measure up: "What single-celled organism did you evolve from?" "Tyannosaurus rex. The lizard king!" For a story like Jurassic Park, we need some cooked up explanation that at least sounds reasonable on the surface. For Super Mario, I think it's overthinking it a wee bit.

I can't quite figure out the studio's thought process here. The easiest, fastest, cheapest way would be to make a nice, simple, silly Super Mario movie. It's based on a video game, so get it out as fast as possible to put the kids and their parents into the theaters. Instead, they created an effects-laden, confusingly-plotted monstrosity with actual actors like Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Hopper. Were they trying to create something more than a stupid, silly Super Mario movie? I just don't get it.
Jump to the four-minute mark for a nice instance of science being fed through the ol' salad shooter.

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