Yesterday legendary video game developer Shigeru Miyamoto announced the cast of an upcoming Mario animated film. Since then, the world has not known peace.
"Chris Pratt is Mario" is a sentence that has caused many to lay awake at night, if not out of fear, then sheer bafflement. Chris Pratt is Mario. Chris Pratt is Mario? He's that Mario? The plumber, who jumps on turtles and says "wahoo"? Yes, apparently, that's what Miyamoto said, and he's the Mario guy!
Mario as a character has never truly made any sense. His first and last name are both canonically "Mario." He is a middle-aged plumber who commits acts of violence against turtles and apes for the sake of a Princess who is somehow always about to be married "against her will," or at least that's the role he plays in many of the games in which he stars. His most famous lines of dialogue are, basically, “It’s-a me, Mario,” “Okey Dokey,” and “Wahoo.” Mario looks like a human but has starred in a game in which humans exist, and he looks and acts nothing like them, leading us to believe he may not actually be a human. The details of Mario's character are malleable. Mario creator Miyamoto once said that he thought of Mario and his brother as actors in a play rather than characters in their own right. He's also said that he is Mario and Luigi's father, which only creates more questions.
Two things about this character have remained consistent: he's a plumber and he is Italian. If you don't yet understand why casting the worst Hollywood Chris as a three-foot tall Italian is bad, Danny Devito is right there.
What unholy sounds can Pratt summon from deep within his professionally sculpted body that would make him resemble the beloved video game character Mario Mario? Is this really a dream come true? Does anyone actually dream of becoming the voice of Mario?
For what it’s worth, here on planet Earth, this is the one true Mario:
Although many of the other casting announcements also seem like a shitpost—Seth Rogen is Donkey Kong and Charlie Day is Luigi—I can at least hear in my mind how that could work. Charlie Day is even kind of an inspired choice for Luigi, if only because the existence of Waluigi raises the question, "who is the evil version of Charlie Day?"
Mario has been depicted on screen before, although fans have not always liked how he has been portrayed. The 1993 movie Super Mario Bros., which featured Bob Hoskins as a gruff, Brooklyn take on the character, has been reviled by fans for decades. Nintendo would not attempt a live action movie based on any of their franchises until 2019's Detective Pikachu. On the eve of a Pratt Mario, I think many people would go so far as to say they'd prefer Hoskins' take. There are many Italians in Brooklyn, and I'm sure some of them are plumbers.
The real shame is that although longtime Mario voice actor Charles Martinet is going to be in the movie, he was passed over to star in favor of a bigger star. That's the voice I hear in my head when I think of the little guy in red overalls, and the voice I actually hear when I play a Mario game.