It’s finally here: not just the first teaser for the new animated Super Mario Bros. Movie, but the debut of Chris Pratt‘s voice for Super Mario.
When the casting was first announced, the reactions ranged from cautious skepticism to outright disgust. Casting a non-Italian voice for an iconic Italian character was bad enough, but Chris Pratt — who’s become a quasi-controversial figure in his own right for his personal religious beliefs — sent a lot of people over the top with their contempt. The fear is that he would appropriate an exaggerated (and offensive) Italian schtick.
Well, while only a couple of lines are spoken by Mario at the end of this first look trailer, I think the fears of the overdone schtick can be put to rest. Whether Pratt is actually a good choice in the first place, though, will most certainly continue to be debated.
Based on what’s heard here (which is fine, in a generic sense), Pratt definitely oversold his approach to the character when he said that it’s “unlike anything you’ve heard” and that the voice was “something that I’m really proud of and can’t wait for people to see and hear.” I don’t think it’s going to amaze anyone, but it shouldn’t really bother anyone either.
At the very least, we can be thankful that we don’t here him cueing up classic video game quotes like “Let’s-a go!” or “Take-a that!” Well, at least not yet.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the French version of the voice — already being tweeted out (see below) — sounds more accurate to the character without being offensive. Non-English versions will likely be more successful at doing this because they have neither Chris Pratt’s vocal limitations or our culture’s sensitivity to caricaturized ethnic accents to contend with.
Alright I'm watching the Mario Movie in French. pic.twitter.com/xX3ixgUNVv
— YongYea (@YongYea) October 6, 2022
Regardless, everything else about this movie looks promising, especially as animated fare that kids will most certainly have loads of fun with.
It’s produced by Illumination Entertainment, and with franchises like Despicable Me, Minions and Sing, they built a track record of delivering the entertainment goods to family audiences time and again.
Other actors voicing characters in the Mushroom Kingdom are Charlie Day as Luigi, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike.
Co-directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic (who’ve previously guided the Teen Titans GO! animated DC franchise), The Super Mario Bros. Movie opens in theaters on April 7, 2023.
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