December 21, 2006

DVD Review: The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! Volume 2

The mere mention of Super Mario Brothers is probably enough to trigger the theme music of the classic Nintendo game. When the Nintendo Entertainment System ruled the mid to late 80s, Mario ruled the world of gaming. He was the most recognizable and popular of all gaming characters, a popularity which has spawned game sequels, and an entire host of spinoffs. Besides the gaming aspect, Nintendo recognized an even larger market, the ancillary market tie in. There are fgures, party supplies, key chains, cereal, you name it. If you keep looking, you will be sure to uncover this series, a mixture of live action and animation. If you have fond memories of the game system, you will probably want to check this out, otherwise you may want to use it to introduce some old school Mario and Luigi into your children's lives who may only know them through more recent games like MarioKart and Super Mario Tennis.

This is the second set of episodes released by Shout! Factory, but the first one I have sampled, and the first episodes I have seen since its run back in 1989/1990. I barely remember the series from its initial run, and my reintroduction has not gone particularly well. I won't deny that there is a definite infectiousness that runs through the show, and it will put a smile on your face. On the other side of the coin is a show that is corny, cheesy, and at times rather cheap looking.

Each episode is centered with a cartoon pitting Mario, Luigi, the Princess, and Toad against King Koopa and his Koopa Pack. The stories get a little repetitive, so small doses of only an episode or two at a time. Each round has Koopa, in varying guises like Elvis or a rapper, putting some nefarious scheme into play to either harass the Toadstool kingdom, marry the Princess, capture Mario, or some combination. Mario must lead his intrepid band on a mission to put a stop to those plans. There you have it, the outline of each of the episodes.

Playing as bumpers for the cartoons are liver action segments featuring former WWE Superstar Captain Lou Albano and Danny Wells (The Jeffersons) as Mario and Luigi, respectively. They are stationed in their plumbing business' office, which became the setting for all manner of problems, from invading gorillas to overgrown plants to popstars looking to hideout. They were all rather goofy, and if pay close attention, you may catch Patrick Dempsey as an overgrown plant. Yes, that Patrick Dempsey from the current hit Grey's Anatomy.

The Super Mario Bros. Super Show is a moderately entertaining slice of nostalgia. The only thing you need to ask yourself is how much of it do you really need? I found myself needing very little to satisfy my thirst for Mario. Despite my decided lack of enthusiasm for such a large dosing of Nintendo's flagship character, I loved how they incorporated the sounds from the games and expanded upon the musical themes and cues from the series, not to mention the at times ingenius animation expansion of the game style graphics.

The set includes 24 episodes, complimenting the 24 episodes of volume one. This may make you wonder where the other four episodes are. Apparently, there were some issues with those final four, on the good side of the problem, the cartoon portions of the episodes are included on here as a bonus cartoons. There are a couple of other extras, including concept art and an interactive tour of the set. It also includes the commercials for the upcoming Legend of Zelda episodes, but not the cartoons themselves, as they will be getting their own box set.

Bottomline. This is a must have for Mario diehards, and worth checking out for the curious. For the rest, you can probably safely skip it, or maybe rent one of the disks. I will say that it is presented very nicely. I will leave you with the opportunity to "Do the Mario!"

Mildly Recommended.


Anonymous said...

Pretty freakin' sweet man, I almost bought those dvd's the other day. I stumbled upon your blog... good shit, i'm gonna link ya and hope you'll do the same for me.

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