His casting feels extremely 2014 LEGO Movie era
“Whoa guys I’m a totally relatable fast talking fish out of water guy, whoa! Raptors!” Who am I? Chris Pratt! And you better get used to his antics, as he’s going to be voicing Mario in the upcoming feature film from Illumination (Minions), likely in the exact same style. In fact we got a good look at the main Mario movie cast as a whole. What a wild Nintendo Direct!
In the announcement that set the internet on fire, Miyamoto himself came out to reveal some preliminary cast details for the new Mario movie, now set for a late 2022, December 21 release in North America. Weirdly, they had no footage to show (not even a still!), which is par for the course in this current climate of non-reveals.
So I’ll start with the good. Charlie Day, as in It’s Always Sunny “Charlie Work” Day is Luigi, which sounds incredible: as Luigi is the Charlie of the Mario world. The talented and on fire Anya Taylor-Joy is Peach, which sounds great too, as she gives it her all in basically everything she does. Jack Black as Bowser is pure perfection. Then we start getting out of the fab four and into Toad (Keegan-Michael Key), Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen), Kamek (Kevin Michael Richardson), Spike (Sebastian Maniscalco), and Cranky Kong (Fred Armisen). I can practically hear them all in my head, especially Donkey Kong laughing.
The absolute highlight of the stream? Miyamoto calling Seth Rogen “Seth-san.”
seth rogen donkey kong pic.twitter.com/TLY9GxgbIP
— Cybershell (@Cybershell) September 23, 2021
But of course the main event (and the star of the film) is Mario, voiced by Chris Pratt. It’s the choice that polarized the internet the minute it was announced, and brought back shades of the “Worst of the Hollywood Chrises” debate. I know that Nintendo and Illumination can’t resist a good old fashioned voice acting name-drop fest, that much was clear when the partnership was formed.
I really think that they could have gone with the Shaun the Sheep approach here, with a less is more attitude. Having Charles Martinet (and company) voice the characters as they always have, with minimal dialogue, could have been a really cool concept, and more true to the spirit of the games. As it stands they’re taking a huge gamble here in terms of quality and box office returns. This cast ain’t cheap! There’s multiple award-winning stars jumbled up here.
The inclusion of Foreman Spike here is really suspect, as it hints that Mario and Luigi will work together in construction before they go on crazy adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom. Maybe 30 minutes of the movie will be slow-going real-world moments where Mario wishes for more and Luigi comforts him.
I guess we can hope for the best? And expect the worst. Illumination’s current slate of 2022 films also includes Minions: The Rise of Gru, which launches ahead of Mario in July.