Super Mario Bros.: The Movie was the first movie based on a video game, and we widely consider it the worst — the movie that ruined video game cinema forever.
But what if we didn’t? What if, instead, we had liked Super Mario Bros: The Movie?
In our universe, this train wreck had but one paltry week of sales before another Jurassic Park smashed box office records. But in an alternate reality – in the so-called Luigiverse – the movie has a second chance. In fall 1987, Gene Siskel, of Siskel and Ebert, eats some bad chowder. Suffering from food poisoning, he is kept company by episodes of Max Headroom, a cyberpunk TV show directed by duo Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton. He forcefully forgets this experience until 1993, when Super Mario Bros.: The Movie premieres.
Siskel decides that it reflects directors Jankel and Morton’s work on Max Headroom, describing it as a more earnest take on cyberpunk, hybridized with fantasy elements without relying on the cynical dystopian tropes. He doesn’t convince everybody, but he does spark a conversation about whether or not cyberpunk, a firmly 80s genre, is dead.
So what happens when we embrace video game movies instead of writing them off entirely? Watch the video above to experience a new world, where Nintendo releases a live-action Kirby movie, theaters feel more like arcades, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe never exists.