At the very beginning of this year, Nintendo confirmed that it was working with Illumination Entertainment—the animation studio responsible for Despicable Me and the Minions—to develop an animated Super Mario movie, with Illumination founder Chris Meledandri and Super Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto on board as producers. That was literally all we knew at the time, but now Meledandri is offering some new details on what his studio is hoping to accomplish (via Variety). It mostly sounds good, with Meledandri saying he’s happy that the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie was so bad because it gives him a chance to do it right—as opposed to simply taking another stab at a story that already worked out well once before.
As for why that movie was so bad, he theorizes that it’s because Miyamoto wasn’t directly involved, leading to an extremely bizarre adaptation that seemed like an alien’s perception of what Super Mario might be like if you just gave them some information about people eating mushrooms and jumping on dinosaurs. For this new animated movie, Illumination is “working closely” with MIyamoto, and it sounds like Meledandri is deferring to his wisdom and experience when it comes to shaping what this movie will be.
That all sounds encouraging, but then Meledandri drops this stunning quote:
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.
Thin? He’s saying that the story of the original Super Mario games is thin? Seriously, it’s been a long time since we heard something so patently absurd. Granted, the average Mario plot isn’t as deep as a Metroid or Legend Of Zelda (which would take easily two or three sentences to fully explain), but there’s nothing “thin” about the eternal saga of a plumber trying to rescue his princess girlfriend from a dinosaur who is sometimes in love with her. What about all of the established character depth like… how Toad sometimes says the princess is another castle, or how Yoshi’s real name is T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas, or… uh, how Wario’s name is a pun in Japanese? Alright, maybe the old games are a little thin, but that doesn’t mean this guy is allowed to say it.
Anyway, this movie should be in theaters by 2022.