So you might’ve seen that new official trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie, along with finally getting to hear a lot more of Chris Pratt voicing Mario? Well, if you did, then you might’ve also noticed that he just sounds like…well, himself. With barely any attempt to sound like our favorite mustachioed plumber. Needless to say, it does not bode well for the film. At least, not for the English dub version.
Christ Pratt, What Happened to Mario?
The new official trailer gives us about a minute of Chris Pratt voicing Mario in the upcoming The Super Mario Bros. Movie. True, a minute of voice-acting is an insignificant length compared to the overall length of the eventual final product. However, if Nintendo intended this to be a sample that represents the final film, then Chris Pratt’s voice as Mario seems a bit…lacking.
Much of the problem seems to be that Chris Pratt makes little attempt to sound like Mario. Mostly, he just sounds like Chris Pratt. Don’t get me wrong. His voice by itself is fine under some circumstances, like when he was playing a slightly goofy Star-Lord or even the slightly more serious raptor zookeeper. It’s just that in this specific instance…it’s not Mario. Mario should sound like Mario, not Chris Pratt. Unfortunately, that’s what Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer sounds like. Just like a slightly buff and somewhat serious prehistoric zookeeper. Almost not at all like our favorite mustachioed plumber. Heck, even when Donkey Kong was literally beating the stuffing out of him, he made no attempt to even sound he was being used as a punching bag. Just some half-hearted groans that don’t match Mario’s facial expression in the slightest. It’s…jarring, that’s what it is.
This isn’t my own isolated opinion either. News websites from Kotaku to Forbes have numerous examples of Tweets by just-as-numerous users who all share the opinion that Chris Pratt sucked at voicing Mario. He just sounds too flat to be him.
What Went Wrong?
It’s a complete mystery as to why Chris Pratt seemed to stubbornly refuse to sound like Mario throughout almost the entirety of that trailer. Chris Pratt isn’t giving us an explanation. Certainly, Nintendo and Illumination aren’t going to bother to answer any questions either. All we can do at this point is guess, but there’s a probable theory here.
Namely: Chris Pratt isn’t Mario’s original voice actor from the games. Yes, shocking, I know. Nintendo fans will readily recall that Charles Martinet is the guy who’s been filling in that job role for the past 30 years.
But I’m going a bit off-topic here. Not only is Chris Pratt not Mario’s original voice actor, he doesn’t have nearly as much voice-acting work as you’d think. His most famous roles involve voicing Emmet Brickowski in The Lego Movie plus its sequel and spinoff short film (which admittedly, he was surprisingly good at) and Barley Lightfoot in Onward (which he once more returns to being flat).
One Faint Point of Light in a Sea of Flatness?
The one and only time Chris Pratt sounded anywhere close to being Mario in that trailer was at the end with the Rainbow Road scene. That scene where Mario made that jump, and Chris Pratt said “Wahoo”? It’s the closest he ever comes to Mario’s distinct high-pitched voice in not just this trailer, but the previous trailer as well. And even then, it’s…serviceable. It’s a lot more energy than Pratt put into any other part of his Mario voicing. But it still sounds slightly flat even then. As though that one scene did genuinely fill him up with energy, but he didn’t quite put his all into it. That’s what it sounded like.
Still, if Chris Pratt can maintain that level of energy for the rest of his Mario performance, then Mario in the English dub of The Super Mario Bros. Movie will at least be…watchable. Not great, but at least you can tolerate it. If not though, and Pratt retains that flat lifelessness throughout most of the film? Well, we can forget about any hopes that Nintendo and Illumination are ever going to replace Pratt with Charles Martinet for one thing. They’re not going to throw away that much money after hiring Pratt, even for Mario’s original voice actor. Which is all the more bizarre, since Martinet is actually going to be in the film as a cameo. Why Nintendo and Illumination blatantly refused to have Martinet voice Mario is a mystery we likely will never get an official answer to.
Still, there is some hope. We can always look forward to the French dub of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Pierre Tessier seems to be doing a marvelous job of voicing Mario, as you can check out in the French dub trailer below: