Between the reveal of a Hot Wheels game and yet another Metroid series addition, Chris Pratt voicing Mario in the new Mario movie is by far Nintendo’s strangest announcement.
Nintendo releases its latest news through online videos called “Nintendo Direct.” They present any new or upcoming games or information on consoles. The Nintendo Direct live-streamed on Oct. 15 revealed that Nintendo is working closely with the animation studio Illumination, widely known for creating Despicable Me and The Lorax, to produce a feature-length animated Mario film. It is yet untitled and projected to come out in America on Dec. 22, 2022.
Nintendo also disclosed the film’s curious cast: Chris Pratt as Mario, Charlie Day as Luigi, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan Michael-Kay as Toad, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong and more. Charles Martinet, the original voice of many of our favorite characters of the Mario franchise is also making an appearance in the movie.
Many fans are left puzzled by this bizarre selection of actors. Jack Black and Seth Rogen are some of the most recognizable voices in Hollywood, and now they are voicing Bowser and Donkey Kong, characters largely known for being nonverbal. In fact, when they do speak, their dialogue is most often written on the screen, not spoken. Mario fans are confused, to say the least. Regardless, they are hoping this talented albeit unusual group of actors and actresses will deliver.
However, Mario films do not have a history of quality. The last Mario movie to come out, Super Mario Bros., was released in 1993 by directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel and starred Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi, respectively.
Super Mario Bros. told the story of two plumbers, Mario and Luigi, who fight to save Princess Daisy in a dystopian parallel universe where descendants of dinosaurs have taken over the world and, according to Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, it was not a good movie. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a measly 28% and IMDb a 4.1/10, citing the muddled narrative and the faithlessness to the source material.
To put it mildly, Super Mario Bros. was a failure, and its reception in the box office reflects that. It had a $42-48 million budget but only made $38.9 million worldwide after its release in theatres.
Nevertheless, though the Mario film legacy is substandard at best, there are high hopes for the new upcoming Mario film. Nintendo is one of the largest and most accomplished gaming companies in the world, while Illumination has produced several blockbuster films. In addition, Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Keegan Michael-Kay and their co-stars are extremely skilled. They will surely perform to the best of their abilities, just like Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo. There were few complaints about the actors’ performance in Super Mario Bros., at least. Let us just hope that Nintendo does not disappoint by the time the winter of 2022 comes around.