Hey! Hallie here!
The Nintendo Direct Event happened today, which means a bunch of new Nintendo announcements! Amongst the exciting trailer for ‘Bayonetta 3’, ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’ coming to the Switch, and Brewster FINALLY coming to ‘New Horizons’, we also got the announcement for an animated film. This animated film is set to be spearheaded by Nintendo as well as Illumination, the big animation company owned by Universal Pictures and responsible for movies like ‘Despicable Me’. It’s also set to be a ‘Super Mario Bros.’ film. This could be really exciting news. Designer Shigeru Miyamoto took to giving this announcement himself and even gave us a December 2022 release date for the film. Illumination has had some duds in the past, but they’re a pretty solid company for Nintendo to partner with for this project. Especially considering the presence of Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios parks. But this cast. This cast ruined many fans’ excitement for this movie all at once. Let’s talk about the cast, the creatives, and why this whole thing is looking pretty bad so far.
Cast and Creatives:
Chris Pratt will be playing Mario. This is already completely ridiculous. I don’t think anyone has ever heard Chris Pratt and thought “He’d make a good Mario”. Pratt at least has some minimal voice acting experience. He voiced Emmet in all of ‘The Lego Movie’ films, Barley in ‘Onward’, and a few small roles earlier in his career. But all of those voices aren’t all that different from his normal voice. I don’t know what’s worse, imagining Chris Pratt as Mario with an Italian accent or without one. Next we have Anya Taylor-Joy as Peach. Anya Taylor-Joy doesn’t have much voice acting experience at all, but she was Brea in ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’. I loved her performance in that, but we’ll have to see how that transfers over to Peach. Next up is Jack Black as Bowser. Ummmm. I’ve seen quite a bit of mixed feelings over this one. Jack Black definitely has voice acting experience. But, as with Chris Pratt, characters like Po from ‘Kung Fu Panda’ have mostly been done in his regular voice. Does that fit the deep, dragon-like growls we’ve heard from Bowser? Not exactly. It might be funny, I suppose. Although, making Bowser a purely comedic character could just as easily end up badly. Seth Rogan is Donkey Kong. They’ve lost me again. Seth Rogan has voice acting credits. He was Pumbaa in the recent ‘Lion King’ remake and he was Mantis alongside Jack Black’s Po in ‘Kung Fu Panda’. But, here we go again, he only ever uses his regular voice. That? For Donkey Kong? Really? Keegan-Michael Key will voice Toad. Key has done various voice acting projects, many in his own voice, but the ‘Hotel Transylvania’ series in particular shows his range. He voiced Murray after CeeLo Green was fired from the job, and he did a good job of matching the performance given in the first movie as well as operating outside of his usual vocal range. It isn’t perfect, but it’s something.
Last amongst the main celebrities listed for this movie is Charlie Day as Luigi. Once again, he’s definitely not the type I can picture convincingly using an Italian accent. He also hasn’t demonstrated much vocal range between his work in ‘Monsters University’ as Art and ‘The Lego Movie’ as Benny. Sebastian Maniscalco is Spike and I can’t say much about him because he hasn’t done enough to really discuss here. It seems the only saving graces in this cast are Fred Armisen, who is known for his diverse voice over work, as Cranky Kong and Kevin Michael Richardson, who is a famous voice actor known for characters like Gantu in ‘Lilo and Stitch’ and The Joker in ‘The Batman’, as Kamek. As for the creatives, Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic are our directors. These two had a hand in both directing and producing ‘Teen Titans Go!’ and ‘Teen Titans GO! To the Movies’. We’re doomed. Screenplay is all being done by men here. What a surprise. One of the writers will be Shigeru Miyamoto, which is a good sign. The other, Matthew Fogel, has written for mostly animated films such as ‘The Lego Movie’, and has now been working primarily for Illumination on both this film and ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’. So pretty much what you would expect for a movie like this. None of it really instills me with confidence.
Casting Celebrities as Voice Actors:
This is the biggest issue with this cast. We only have two actors who are extremely familiar with the voice acting industry among these celebrities. Otherwise, we have a mix of actors who have done one or two larger animated films in their own voices and actors who have done barely anything at all in voice acting. This clearly shows us that all of these people were chosen because they’re big names in the industry and not because they fit the characters. In fact, I’m hard pressed to find one of these actors who I think is suited for the role they’re playing. It’s a star studded cast, certainly. But I don’t think I ever wanted to see any of these actors stepping into these roles. Meanwhile, voice actors frequently struggle with finding jobs and getting good pay because Hollywood keeps shutting them out of projects like this. We all know that trained voice actors would sound much better in these roles. Almost anyone would make a better Mario than Chris Pratt, but there are a long list of voice actors who would be incredible as Mario. But Hollywood has made animated films inaccessible to most voice actors. So we get this. A cast full of big names, all of whom are completely miscast.
I can’t say I’m excited for this movie. I usually try to withhold judgement after announcements like this but… This one was remarkably horrible. I don’t even really want to think about this anymore. I’m just going to pretend that this announcement didn’t happen so I can go back to being excited about Brewster. Anyone want to join?
Don’t do anything fun until I get back!