Do video game-to-movie adaptations really need a gritty, Christopher Nolan-like take on their subject matter? Decide for yourself with The Four Players, a four-part short film series inspired by Super Mario Bros. The shorts are all the product of Maker Studios, working in collaboration with Divergent author Evan Daugherty (via The Hollywood Reporter).
Only two of the four shorts – the Mario-focused The Fixer and Luigi-focused The Addict – are posted, with the other two, The Star (about Princess Peach) and The Soldier (about Toad) set to debut on Friday, November 15. All four of the shorts are hosted by Polaris, Maker’s geek-focused YouTube channel. As you can see in these first two, Daugherty takes Shigeru Miyamoto’s trippy Mushroom Kingdom and grounds it (somewhat) in reality. We’ve seen fan films of this sort before, but the execution here makes these two worth a look.
Daugherty is no stranger to grim and gritty; Divergent scored points with a young adult reading audience that leans toward fiction like The Hunger Games. “Making these short films gave me a chance to really ‘do my own thing,’ while having a little fun treating one of my favorite video-game properties with a darker vibe,” the author said in a statement. “I had been kicking around the idea for years before I was even working in the industry, so to finally be able to share these films with fans on Polaris is a very exciting thing.”