The cast for the untitled Super Mario Bros. movie from Despicable Me studio Illumination was revealed during a recent Nintendo Direct presentation.
Various A-list actors have joined the video game adaptation to voice some of the franchise’s most iconic characters. Chris Pratt will voice Mario alongside Charlie Day as his green-suited brother, Luigi. Anya Taylor-Joy will play Princess Peach, whilst Jack Black and Seth Rogen lend their voices to Bowser and Donkey Kong respectively.
This will be the third attempt at an adaptation of the beloved franchise after the 1986 Japanese anime film Super Mario Bros: The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach! and the infamous 1993 live-action adaptation Super Mario Bros., which later achieved a cult following.
The majority of these actors are known for their comedic roles, with Charlie Day, Jack Black and Seth Rogen all making their names in live-action comedies. Anya Taylor-Joy, on the other hand, is something of a rising star coming off Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit and the upcoming Last Night in Soho.
But the casting which seems to have provoked the strongest reaction online is Chris Pratt as the titular Italian plumber. From the Jurassic World trilogy to Guardians of the Galaxy, Pratt has enjoyed tremendous success on the big screen in recent years, showing off his voice acting talents as Emmet in The Lego Movie and Barley Lightfoot in 2020’s Onward. His casting as Mario, however, has been met with internet mockery and criticism. Some have spawned memes ridiculing the casting, whilst others have criticised that no Italian actors were cast as these Italian plumbers.
Some have also expressed disappointment that current Mario voice actor Charles Martinet will only feature in various as-yet-unspecified cameo roles, despite having voiced the character consistently since Nintendo’s early video game trade shows in 1990.
These controversies aside, we can only speculate what this adaptation will achieve. Will a cinematic Mario reach the flagpole? Will this video game adaptation be a 1-Up for fans of the cherished series? Or will it fail faster than Bowser on a rope bridge? We’ll have to wait until 21 December 2022 to find out.
Words By Ethan Soffe
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