Was there any entertainment company more dominating in the ’80s than Nintendo? For many of us, our childhood was consumed by pressing down on the extremely basic thumb-pad, all the while mashing down on those A and B buttons in hopes of passing a level without having to restart it from the beginning. I believe even in 2020 some of the best games EVER were on the Nintendo Entertainment System. And one of those games that still holds up even to this day is Super Mario Bros 3.
Now Nintendo had a different approach to market this game and that was to create a movie where we would get our glimpse of this much anticipated game. And this is how The Wizard came to be.
The movies stars…
- Luke Edwards … Jimmy Woods / The Wizard
- Fred Savage … Corey Woods
- Jenny Lewis … Haley
- Jackey Vinson … Lucas
- Beau Bridges … Sam Woods
- Christian Slater … Nick Woods
Now the premise for this movie is all over the place. The commercials had us believing that this movie was about these three kids just going off and having fun and playing in video game tournaments, ultimately leading us to see Super Mario Bros 3. And while yes this does happen, there’s a lot more family story and conflicts that go along with the journey.
The story revolves around young Jimmy Woods who has been known to just pack up with his trusty lunchbox and wander off, with California as his destination point. It gets so bad that his mom and step-dad have decided to put him in a home. Dealing with a dysfunctional family life himself Corey, who is Jimmy’s half brother decides to ditch town as well and take Jimmy with him. Any guess where these two are going? If you said California, you just earned yourself a thousand points and an extra life.
AND THEN THERE WERE THREE
While on the run, Corey tries to keep Jimmy occupied by playing arcade games, while trying to figure out a way to get to California quicker. While scoring 50,000 on Double Dragon, a girl named Haley now comes into the picture.
NOW YOU’RE PLAYING WITH POWER
While on there travels Haley realizes just how naturally talented Jimmy is at playing video games. She then grabs a Nintendo Power magazine and tells Corey and Jimmy that if she can get them to the tournament and Jimmy wins they will split the winnings.
HE’S SO BAD
Along their travels, they meet Lucas. Who’s not just good at Nintendo games but has mastered all 97 of them. We also get some nice product placement of the Nintendo Power Glove here as well. And I’m using the term product placement over demonstration because us kids who did get our hands on it found out it really wasn’t all it was coped out to be.
WATCH THOSE HANDS
Now Corey gives Lucas a little bit of advice here in the scene. While putting his arm around Haley, Corey tells Lucas he needs to keep his power-gloves to himself. If you google Jackey Vinson you’ll see he should have heeded that advice.
Now after this encounter our trio continues there journey across country. And this is where not only a lot of the fun of the movie is with the kids playing videos games in many different locations, but we get a lot of the backstory that lets us know and like these characters.
Now without spoiling the ending our trio arrives at the video game competition. And if you look closely you can actually see a young spider-man making an appearance as well. The big finale does lead up to our hero Jimmy and Lucas battling it out in Super Mario Bros 3.
And yes there will be a payoff in the end as we find out why Jimmy woods was so determined to get to California in the first place.
WHY I RECOMMEND IT
To me this is a feel good type of movie. And as someone who grew up in the Nintendo era I can identify with this movie. Now will kids today like or even understand this movie? Not sure if they get the idea that we actually had to pay per minute for a Nintendo hotline to get a tip in the game instead of just looking it up on YouTube. But I do think if you are over the age of 30 and were a Nintendo player I definitely think this movie will bring back some serious nostalgia.