My Pitch For The Most 90s Video Game Film That Was Never Made But Totally Should Have Been
When I was younger, I used to come up with terrible plot ideas for movies all the time. What kid didn’t? I’d bring my Walkman into the bathroom so that I could sync up “Baba O’Riley” perfectly in my mind with whatever silly plot idea I had going. Or anything by Eiffel 65. I still unironically enjoy “My Console” and I am not as ashamed as I should be about imagining myself in the “band” playing on the side of a mountain. They spell out Playstation in the song, I cannot help myself.
I came up with all kinds of scenarios for films, a lot of which involved the cast of Dragon Ball Z envisioned as me and my friends defending our school from an attack by Frieza because of course I did that. There was, however, one “film” I fleshed out far more than I should have. In the 90s, this might have been king for a day. In 2017, it’s the worst thing you’ve ever heard of that you would most definitely watch while heavily intoxicated. Hell, even Nine Lives made money, so kids might want to see this. Here’s the pitch:
Max is a young kid, around 12-13. Blonde hair, blue eyes, glasses, scrawny and scrappy. He looks an awful lot like me. The opening has him playing Super Mario 64 in his room. He’s very good at it. He defeats Bowser with relative ease. “Max! Time for school!” his mother calls from downstairs. Oh, it’s the morning? Max just does this for practice. He’s that good. A speedrunner before its time. He turns off the game, grabs his backpack with Mario on the back, and heads out the door. The scene then pulls out of a crystal ball. Someone was watching all this happen! BUT WHO?? AND WHY??
Cut forward. Max is at school, doing kid stuff. He’s not the coolest, but he has a core set of friends. We meet them briefly. The bullies pick on our heroes, knock over their lunches, whatever stereotypical 90s bullies do that never actually happens in real life. “You wanna settle this at the park?” says the bully, menacingly. “You’re on, CHADD!” responds Max, his friends riled up and ready to go. Are these kids, who are clearly nerds, gonna fight the obviously superior bullies? They’ll never win! CUT TO:
The park. High Noon. But what’s this? They’re all wearing 90s era LASER TAG GEAR. Man, I really thought this was cool. So the fight is actually just a laser tag match, which is so goddamn stupid but just roll with it. Max, being the super resourceful kid that he is, goes and hides in a trash can. “No one will look for me here! I’ll ambush ’em!” he thinks. The trash cans also just look a lot like drainpipes, which is mostly what they looked like at the ballpark I went to as a kid, so I thought I was being very clever with this idea.
While Max is hiding out, the bottom of the can slowly starts to split open. He doesn’t notice at first, but the moment he does…SLAM! The floor opens fully, revealing just black below him. Max, in a cartoonish fashion, floats in midair for a second, then FALLS! Colors are flashing past his face as he dives deeper and deeper into the long pipe. His arms, face, legs, and clothes are all changing! Everything is becoming more game-like! Pixels are flying! The camera flips upside-down! Max is yelling the entire time. What is going on?!
The opening scene of Super Mario 64 plays out, albeit with a more Pixar-esque feel to the way it looks. A drainpipe appears, just like in the game. POP! Out comes…an animated Max?! He’s dazed and further bewildered when he stares at his now non-human looking appendages. “Wh…what is going on!” he manages to get out. Panicked, he tries to run, but slams headfirst into a portly belly that’s wearing blue overalls and a red shirt. Max slowly looks up to reveal…
“It’s-a me! Mario!”
Max screams ludicrously loud and passes out. “Oh, mamma mia!” Mario says. Smash cut to the title:
MAX MEETS MARIO
I could not have been more proud of that alliteration. I didn’t get much further in the plot, but the basic outline was that Mario saw just how good Max was at playing his game, so he pulled him into his world to help defeat Bowser and rescue the Princess. I guess he needed help or something? Luigi, Toad, Yoshi, and others would all make appearances as Max and Mario ventured through the paintings of Super Mario 64 while collecting stars and beating bad guys. When he finally helped save the day and was sent back up, time would have been frozen in the real world. No one would ever know how long he was actually gone in the Mushroom Kingdom. He would also win the laser tag battle, maybe even with Mario’s help from afar.
So Nintendo, if you’re reading this, and we all know that you are, consider it my pitch for the second feature film to star your plumber hero and his gang. It can’t be worse than the first one, right?