Is it a stretch to put this in the character analysis slot of the week? Absolutely. Am I doing it anyways? Yes. It’s my blog I can do what I want.
Originally, I didn’t have any real intentions to talk about the upcoming Mario movie. I’d probably have reviewed it, and I probably still will. But I never had any real plans to discuss it beyond that.
Except here’s the thing: I just can’t get it out of my head! Memes aside, this movie has wormed its way into my skull! It’s so bizarrely outlandish, so preposterous, that I simply can’t wrap my head around it! I mean, come on! You’ve got the iconic characters of Mario, and Nintendo decided to cast it like this!
- Mario: Chris Pratt
- Luigi: Charlie Day
- Peach: Anya Taylor-Joy
- Bowser: Jack Black
- Toad: Keegan Michael-Key
- Donkey Kong: Seth Rogan
- Charles Martinet (the actual voice of Mario): Cameos
Now, to be fair: as absolutely insane as that list is, it isn’t all bad. Oddly, I can see Charlie Day fitting Luigi, even if he’s about as Italian as Chuck Norris, and Jack Black is an incredibly talented and enjoyable voice actor. Keegan Michael-Key has a chaotic energy to him that could work for toad… if he raises his voice an octave or two. And while I’ve never seen anything with Anya Taylor-Joy in it, at least as far as I can remember, her IMDb looks fairly promising.
Seth Rogan as Donkey Kong is hella cursed, though. Like, that shit will keep me up at night after I watch this movie. Hell, after I watch the first trailer!
The problem isn’t just that these traditionally silent characters (ignoring Mario Sunshine) are getting voices. It’s that the voices selected simply don’t match with the image of the character!
I mean, look at Mario. He’s not a complex character. He jumps around, he says ‘Wahoo’, he gets the coins, he saves the day, end of character. He’s charming and fun and everyone in the world loves him. The two most deep traits he has as a character are that he’s a plumber and he’s Italian.
Which implies that Italy exists in the Mario universe, but that’s a topic for another mental meltdown.
Now let’s look at Chris Pratt. This dude plays a very specialized kind of role. That being, for lack of a better word: the Himbo. His characters are big, dumb, goofy, and generally well-liked by their peers. See Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy, Andy from Parks and Rec., or whoever-the-fuck he played in that one Pixar movie everyone has already forgotten about.
Like… do you guys see an actor like that fitting a role like Mario? Even aside from the fact that his voice is as American as you could possibly get.
The same goes for just about every character we know about already. They’re all perfectly fine actors, but it’s hard to imagine their voices coming out of the characters they’re attached to. I’m sorry, but I simply cannot wrap my head around the fact that Mario is not only going to be speaking in complete sentences, but he’s going to be doing so with fucking Chris Pratt’s voice!
This all comes down to one simple issue: the movie itself. Of all the video game licenses to turn into a movie, Mario was the last that should have gotten the treatment. For fuck’s sake, they literally tried that back in the eighties and it’s widely considered to be one of the worst movies ever made! The characters and universe of Mario are designed to fit a goofy video game, where the story doesn’t matter! Not a feature length film where the story is literally the only part that does matter!
Literally the only reason I can think of for this movie existing is that the Sonic movie did so well. But even then, people barely even liked that one.
Personally, I can’t wait to watch the Mario movie. Not because I think it’ll be good; even aside from it being a video game movie, it’s still an Illumination movie. But because I expect the whole thing to feel like a fever dream. Like some trick of my sleep-deprived brain made manifest, for all the world to see.
And on the off-chance, the microscopic possibility that it actually ends up being good, then… it’ll be good, I guess.
I dunno, I just really want to see Jack Black as Bowser. I unironically think that could actually be fun.