An extended cut of the live-action adaptation of Super Mario Bros. was released this morning on The Internet Archive, courtesy of the Super Mario Bros. Movie Archive Team. Starring Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and John Leguizamo (Carlito’s Way), the movie follows two Brooklyn plumbers, Mario and Luigi, who attempt to rescue a mysterious princess (Samantha Mathis) from a vicious dictator named King Koopa (Dennis Hopper) after getting accidentally transported to another dimension.
Dubbed “The Morton-Jankel Cut,” this new version of the film includes over 20 minutes of additional scenes pulled from VHS sources by filmmaker and restorationist Garrett Gilchrist. It includes never-before-seen footage of a cut subplot of the Mario brothers clashing with a rival plumbing company that has connections to the Mafia, King Koopa murdering an underling by de-evolving him into slime, a scene of supporting characters Iggy and Spike rapping about the overthrow of King Koopa’s tyrannical regime, and a lot more.
Initially released in 1993, Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel’s Super Mario Bros. is remembered by fans and critics alike as one of Hollywood’s earliest and maligned attempts to capitalize on the popularity and commercial success of video games in the late ’80s and mid-’90s, particularly the Nintendo Entertainment System and the company’s flagship platformer franchise. The film itself was a critical and commercial bomb, owed in part to the dissonance between the film’s depiction of the original characters and setting and its deeper identity crisis brought about by behind-the-scenes drama between the directors and Disney, which purchased the distribution rights to the film several weeks before shooting began and demanded significant rewrites up to the film’s release.
The Internet Archive’s writeup of the release describes the discovery of the new footage: “On May 15th 2019, the Super Mario Bros. Movie Archive Team [...] discovered a VHS videotape containing an extended, earlier rough cut of the 1993 cult film Super Mario Bros. This version includes about 20 minutes of previously unseen and extended scenes that expand backstory and strengthen character arcs. It originally belonged to producer Roland Joffé, and appears to be one of a kind.”
Whether this new incarnation of the movie will ever see the light of day as an official high-definition release is anyone’s guess, but for now, you can watch the entire 125-minute cut via the Internet Archive.