How Fans Worked to Restore the Director's Cut of 'Super Mario Bros.'

'Super Mario Bros.'Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
The Mario brothers just got a lot more super. 

Have you heard of Super Mario Bros: The Morton Jankel Cut? I had not until this morning, and now I am kind of obsessed. Named after co-directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, it's a restored director's cut of the 1993 movie

Here's the story. Directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel were unhappy with the 1993 version of the movie and completed this version before the theatrical distribution of the version we all saw in theaters (or on VHS). 

Now, the 1993 movie is not known as a classic. People had problems with the cast, plot, dark and gritty tone, and humor. People had problems with everything. But apparently, there was a mythos around this movie. There was a cut that promised a better version, something actually worthy of the title. 

But it took movie fans years to restore the vision. Which they stumbled upon by accident! 

The legend of the film spread far and wide. But one day, superfans Ryan Hoss and Steven Applebaum stumbled upon something huge.

As they say in their video description, "On May 15th 2019, we discovered a tape containing an extended rough cut of the 1993 cult film Super Mario Bros. This version is about 15 minutes longer than the official theatrical cut, including new and extended scenes that expand backstory and strengthen character arcs. Unfortunately, the tape had very poor image quality and required heavy restoration. For this task we turned to director/editor/artist Garrett Gilchrist."

If you are unaware, Gilchrist is the guy who helped finish The Thief and The Cobbler, so he knows a thing or two about lost gems. 

Together, they worked to assemble a database of everything they could find of the movie.

How did they make this happen?

Well, they used discarded footage, some VHS archives, and just hunted through deleted scenes to make the over two-hour version, adding 20 minutes not left in the original film. 

To get things looking right, Gilchrist used Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, EBSynth, the Remini Photo app, Topaz AI Gigapixel, Virtualdub, EBSynth, among other tools. The process took weeks. The main focus was painting out dirt, getting rid of splices, ghosting, and removing damage frame by frame using Photoshop.

Oh, and the VHS that was found was 60fps, so it had to be adjusted down to 24fps, then have noise reduced, and be color graded again. 

You can watch the movie on the Internet Archive here

What movie would you like to see get this treatment next? Let us know what you think in the comments.     

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The VHS they found was 60fps?

Hmm.

June 9, 2021 at 11:37PM, Edited June 9, 11:37PM

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