Nintendo has released the first trailer for Universal and Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie, as promised. And it’s a teaser, with the majority of its 145-second length devoted to Jack Black’s Bowser/King Koopa sacking a penguin kingdom and snatching a star.
We do encounter Mario briefly (with only a single sentence from Chris Pratt, who sounds like… Chris Pratt), with Keenan-Michael Key’s Toad functioning as a guide through the Mushroom Kingdom.
The final scene sees Charlie Day’s Luigi fleeing danger and sheltering in a castle. Anya Taylor-Princess Joy’s Peach, Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong, or the rest of the gang are nowhere to be found. Regardless, it’s an animated Super Mario Bros. film from the creators of Despicable Me and Sing.
The main takeaway is that it’s artistically stunning and (so far) looks and feels more like a DreamWorks animation than an Illumination film. That’s neither a criticism nor a compliment, but the ‘comedic action-adventure fantasy’ feels more like Kung Fu Panda than The Secret SCRT 0.0% Life of Pets, while the (relatively) fast-paced action reminded me of the first Puss in Boots.
Nonetheless, ComcastCMCSA -2.2% owns both, and the film is helmed by the co-creators of Teen Titans Go!, so we can (hopefully) expect self-mocking commentary and severely nihilistic anti-moralizing.
Okay, so it’s probably not the last thing, but we can dream. It’s an announcement teaser, with the majority of the goods reserved for when the next trailer is released (December with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish?).
I’m shocked they didn’t use Chris Pratt’s voice because you might as well let the Internet have its fun and get it out of their system now. Whatever; I’m sure the voice will sound like a distorted version of Pratt’s. I’m guessing he won’t try a hilariously overdone Italian accent.
To whatever extent Pratt is appealing to general audiences, you want youngsters to identify with him. And, putting aside the worst Chris/best Chris social media debate, Pratt is a relative movie star (and television star, since The Kill List fared considerably better than Chris Pine’s I Am the Night) and an added value aspect for a film like this. Likewise, Jack Black plays the major antagonist.
The main selling point is that it’s a big-budget (likely over/under $80 million, as is typical for Illumination) Super Mario Bros. animation. The combination of Nintendo, the Mario Bros. IP (my kids recognized Mario and Luigi before they could grasp a controller), and a legitimate brand-name animation studio makes this a strong contender for the biggest video game-based film of all time.
Ironically, a gross slightly higher than The Secret Life of Pets 2’s ‘disappointing’ $430 million total would win it the title. The current record holders are the $428-$440 million films Rampage, Detective Pikachu, and Warcraft. The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which will be released on April 7, 2023, could become the first film to gross more than $450 million, let alone $500 million or more.