Bring back chunky Mario
I think it’s pretty safe to say that Mario is one of the most instantly recognizable and beloved video game characters in history, and I think we chose well to have him represent the medium we hold so dear. There are many facts to what makes Mario so universally adored (which is in no small part thanks to the decades-spanning voice performance of Charles Martinet), but one of them is his chunky little character design, which doesn’t look as prominent in his upcoming movie.
Even compared to other human characters on the roster like Princess Peach, Mario’s proportions are much more distinct. He’s short, he’s round, and his little circular torso acts as the point from which the rest of his limbs emanate. It’s an iconic look, and considering we’ve seen it so many times over the years, it’s easy to sense that something feels off, even if we can’t pinpoint exactly what it is.
Thanks to some fans on the internet, now we have a side-by-side comparing the classic Mario look to the new design for the movie. The changes are subtle, but they’re definitely there. It may not be as jarring as when Ugly Sonic made his debut, but something about Mario doesn’t feel quite right to me. Of course that’s in part because Chris Pratt’s voice is coming out of him.
Something I noticed about the fan redesign is its focus on shapes — a classic principle of character design. While movie Mario has more realistic proportions by animated character standards (which has actually drawn a lot of comparisons to Wreck-It Ralph‘s Fix-It Felix), the fan interpretation brings a lot of the roundness back into Mario’s design, especially when it comes to his eyes, hands, feet, and torso.
I wouldn’t mind the visual changes as much if Mario’s new voice was truer to the character, but the combination of the new body and voice are a bit too uncanny for my taste.