With the release of the trailer, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is already a divisive topic, with exception to Bowser who’s shaped up to be the best thing about the film. The first trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie has given a glimpse into Nintendo and Illumination’s animated adaptation of the classic video game franchise. The movie continues the recent string of video game adaptations, with Detective Pikachu, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Uncharted all proving to be popular and generally performing well at the global box office.
Controversially, rather than using or imitating the Nintendo character’s voices from the video games, The Super Mario Bros. Movie cast is made up of Hollywood’s biggest stars and most familiar voices. Similar to how devoted SEGA fans responded to the original “ugly Sonic” design for 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog, long-time Nintendo players have reacted negatively to Chris Pratt’s voice for Mario. The Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer only gives Mario a couple of lines, but both sound exactly like Pratt, a dramatic change from the character’s famously distinctive Italian accent. Despite the backlash to Chris Pratt’s Mario voice, the trailer suggests that one Super Mario character has been adapted perfectly for the movie.
Bowser, Mario’s greatest enemy in the video games, looks set to be the best part of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Voiced by the legendary Jack Black, Bowser is the focus of the movie’s first trailer, and he has already been painted out to be a ruthless monster. Bowser’s look is a faithful take on his video game design, but arguably, and more importantly, the energy and characterization that Black brings to the role are in keeping with the Bowser that Nintendo fans know and love. Unlike Pratt’s uninspired voice work, it’s clear that veteran voice actor Jack Black knows exactly what he wants Bowser to be. The actor has successfully captured the King of the Koopas video-game aggression while injecting elements of his own fun personality.
How Bowser Could Save The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Although plot details about The Super Mario Bros. Movie are slim, the trailer suggests it will be a classic tale of good against bad, and the film will only be as good as its villain. Encouragingly, the trailer spends a lot of time building Bowser up to be an unstoppable force who, not unlike the MCU’s Thanos, is both physically powerful and masterfully intelligent. Jack Black’s Bowser can save The Super Mario Bros. Movie because he is not only such a huge threat, but he is so watchable. An effective villain in Bowser could elevate Mario’s role and help fans look beyond the mustached plumbers distracting voice, despite the early hate for Universal’s Mario film.
Interestingly, in the trailer, Bowser appears to be a fully formed villain who has a history of wreaking havoc, while Mario seems to be on his first adventure. That’s a stark difference from Sonic the Hedgehog‘s Dr. Robotnik who grew into his iconic look and personality until the sequel. That can work in The Super Mario Bros. Movie‘s favor because Bowser is already arrogant and cocky, which will ultimately be his undoing when Mario and his friends inevitably defeat him. The Super Mario Bros. Movie isn’t due to be released until April 2023, so there is still time to improve areas that have received backlash and introduce missing Mario characters, but if the first trailer is anything to go by then Bowser will be the clear standout of the film.
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