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Lions Gate presents
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show: Mario's Greatest Movie Moments (1989)

"Do the Mario! Swing your arms from side to side, come on, it's time to go! Do the Mario!"
- Mario (Lou Albano)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: March 06, 2002

Stars: Lou Albano, Danny Wells
Other Stars: Harvey Atkin, Jeannie Elias, John Stocker
Director: John Grusd, Dan Riba, Steve Binder

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:41m:21s
Release Date: February 26, 2002
UPC: 031398792222
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

I can clearly remember the premiere of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. I was in second grade, and a Nintendo addict (like most kids those days). Luckily, I had neglectful parents who didn't care what I did after school (just kidding, mom!), so many of those days were spent sitting in front of the TV, veging out on Mario, Zelda, Final Fantasy, and all the other classic 8-bit NES games. Ah, those were the days.The show had been heavily hyped, in Nintendo Power Magazine (no conflict of interest there), as an entertainment extravaganza mixing animation and hilarious live action. It features the adventures of plumber brothers Mario and Luigi, two heroes who accidentally travel to the Mushroom Kingdom, where they fight along with Princess Toadstool, against the tyrannical evil turtle, King Bowser Koopa. At the time, it worked for me, though it probably had more to do with seeing my favorite video game characters bouncing around onscreen without me having to command them. The live action portions, which featured Mario and Luigi in a real world setting, seemed dumb even to a nine-year-old, which means they were pretty dumb. On Fridays, the show featured instead The Adventures of Link, based on the Zelda videogames. The show is actually very similar to its Mario counterpart: simply replace Koopa with Ganon. This segment was especially memorable for Link's catchphrase, "Well excuuuuuse me, Princess," which was said at least three or five times every episode.Viewed now, some 13 years later, I am forced to reevaluate notions of my youth—I always thought I was a bright child, but if I was entertained by this mindless material, I guess not so much. Why, oh why, do I keep shattering my childhood dreams? Why, DVD, do you crush all that is true and good about my youth? Anyway, it is clear now that the show leans heavily on formula, every plot involving some harebrained scheme from Koopa, with the brothers saving the day right around the 12-minute mark. There are moments that could be interpreted as humor, but they aren't really funny, so much as stupid. The animation is simplistic and repetitive, but fairly typical for an animated show that aired daily, with large, blocky backgrounds and a limited range of movement from the characters. Sadly, this disc eliminates the live action segments, which I'm sure are even worse than I remember. Hey, camp is camp.All that said, I really enjoyed watching this entire DVD. It brought me back to simpler days, when I was happy and content with a dumb TV show and a PB&J after school. Before my soul was crushed by this cold, hard world. Join me in soothing your tortured soul with these six Mario episodes, all movie-themed, and two of Link:Kount Koopula!Koopenstein!Koopzilla!Robo-Koopa Toad Warrior Raiders of the Lost MushroomThe Missing Link Kiss and Tell Some odd trivia: The voice of Mario is former wrestling star "Captain" Lou Albano, who also played the titular plumber in the live action bumpers. Albano, a cousin of Danny DeVito, was once managed by pop singer Cyndi Lauper, and can been seen in her videos for Girls Just Want to Have Fun, She Bop, and Good Enough (from Goonies). Danny Wells, who plays Luigi, also did voice work for the cartoon based on George Gatley's Heathcliff comics. Steve Binder, who directed the live action segments, also directed the infamous 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. The further adventures of Mario were chronicled in Captain N & The Adventures of Super Mario Bros 3 and Captain N & The New Super Mario World, until the 1993 live action film Super Mario Bros., starring Bob Hoskins, tanked at the box-office, signaling the end of Mario's media domination. The Mario brothers' full names are Mario Mario and Luigi Mario.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The animation was never stellar on this series, and I can't say the DVD improves the situation at all. If anything, flaws are more apparent, thanks to increased resolution over VHS. Pixilization and line jumps are fairly evident throughout these episodes. The image has a grainy look in general, and the source materials show quite a few lines and scratches. Colors are fairly dull, and the black level is on the poor side. A passable transfer at best, but it's about what you'd expect from a ten-year-old TV show without remastering.

Image Transfer Grade: C-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: This mix sounds fine, considering the material. The front soundstage is pretty narrow, and sound effects tend to be presented uniformly across it, with nothing in terms of directional effects or panning. Dialogue is always clear, and the music, though somewhat tinny, sounds fine also.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Animated menu
Scene Access with 10 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Alpha
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Trivia Game
  2. Bonus Episode
Extras Review: The extras at first seem pretty slim. The English subtitles are nice, and not something I was expecting, but other than that, there seems only to be a juvenile trivia game. But if you are able to answer all eight questions right, you are treated to a bonus episode, also movie-themed: The Adventures of Sherlock Mario. The best part, though, is that this episode includes the ending live action bumper (though the opening one isn't present), with Mario and Luigi trying to impress a surveyor to become "Plumbers of the Year." It is amazing just how exquisitely awful this segment is. It actually made me feel sad for all involved parties. The canned laugh track doesn't help. Just really, really poorly shot and acted. Dreadful. I want more!There's an easter egg on the main menu. Highlight the DiC logo for a promo of the Mario and Sonic DVDs. There's a longer trailer, highlighting other DiC properties, like Dennis the Menace, that plays automatically when you insert the disc. Hopefully for us children of the '80s, some of these will be available on DVD soon.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

The Super Mario Brothers Super Show was great when I was nine, as the old Nintendo Entertainment System was a tent pole of my youth. But the last decade-plus has not been kind to the series, though I imagine it might still interest small children (that is, if those nutty kids today even like Mario anymore, what with him not being a Pokemon and all). If nothing else, this DVD is a real nostalgia trip for Gen-Yers, and at $14.99 for nine episodes, it's a pretty good deal, too.


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