This past week, it was announced that Nintendo is teaming up with Illumination Studio (the same studio that produced Despicable Me and Minions) to do a Super Mario Bros. animated movie. This would be the first Mario movie done since the 90s, but there are still some burning questions that should concern fans of the franchise.
What will the plot be?
Based on the game’s lore, we can already assume that the story may revolve around Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach. However, with so many other characters in the history of the games, is there a chance that we could see other villains stepping in? There’s an opening for Wario to come up as a villain, as he’s made several appearances in the games over the years, and has been somewhat of a fan favorite. There’s also the possibility that we’ll see Donkey Kong as an antagonist in the movie, as he was the very first one that Mario ever went up against.
The thing is, if you are introducing younger fans to Mario Bros., it makes more sense to have Bowser as the big bad – the producers just shouldn’t count on stretching out his appearance over two or three movies.
Regardless of all of this, let’s just hope the movie sticks with animation, stays in the Mushroom Kingdom, and doesn’t interact with the “real world”. Moviegoers already learned that lesson.
What other locations and characters could make an appearance?
Equally as important as plot and storyline, is the movie’s setting and its colorful cast of characters. What locations could we, the fans, see that will bring back memories of running and jumping around the Mario universe? First, let us say that it would be AMAZING to see some of the old 2D platforming worlds realized on the big screen.
Are we going to see things like World 4-1 from Super Mario Bros. 3, where Mario went up against gigantic villains? What about getting a racing scene straight out of Mario Kart 8’s Electrodome? Nintendo and Illumination Studio could even take viewers on a visit to Digga Leg’s planet in the Spin-Dig Galaxy. The lore is so vast that the possibilities for the locations we could see are nearly endless. With that, so are the characters – and there are scores of them. In our opinion here at PCU, it would be a misstep for the production team to not include appearances by Luigi, Toad, Yoshi, and so many other fan favorites. This would also open the door to having characters like Pauline, Bowser Jr., Rosalina, and Cappy. This of course brings us to…
What kind of voice acting and animation could we get, and will it work?
Here’s where the proposition of a Mario Bros. movie could get a bit sticky. For over 30 years, the Mario Bros. games have had little to no actual voice acting for the characters. Sure, you could bring up the Mario Bros. cartoon from the late 80s, but an actual feature-length movie would have to take things way further than that, in order for fans to really sit up and take notice. As it stands, most of the younger fanbase of the franchise is used to hearing little to nothing actually come out of the characters’ mouths. Additionally, when Mario or Luigi have spoken in the past, it’s usually been with an exaggerated and stereotypical Italian accent. Taking all of this into account, Illumination Studio seems to have their work cut out for them in order to make this a fun experience without going into the realm of offending people with stereotypes. So, when this project gets the green light, and when we start seeing trailers, it’s a good bet that this will be under the microscope of fans.
Sure, it’s still way too early to say what this movie will be like (especially with there being no other announcements or hints), there’s always going to be concerns as to how the lore of such a beloved franchise will be treated. To date, almost every time someone has mentioned this franchise in terms of a movie, we still get images of Bob Hoskins hamming it up alongside John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper. Finally, while today’s movie industry would seem to call for this to be a CGI feature, time will tell whether Nintendo and Illumination Studio go that route, or stick with a more classic cartoon style. Sure, CGI would allow for a lot more detail to be captured, and a lot more effects to be used, but a more cartoony style does have its charm. Either way, you can bet that a lot of fans will be on board with this.
Let’s recap, dear readers. There are a few things here that could potentially make or break a Mario Bros. movie.
Plot: This has to be done right, and needs to capture the feel of a Super Mario Bros. storyline. Otherwise, it may just fall flat.
Settings and characters: We hope that Nintendo and Illumination Studio will take the opportunity to show us some of our favorite worlds in the Mario universe, and include several fan-favorite characters. It’s really those that capture the imagination of fans, and add to the immersive nature of this beloved franchise.
Voice acting and animation style: When translating a video game IP like Super Mario Bros. to the big screen, one of the main things that the production team needs to watch out for is not losing the original charm of the franchise. Poor voice acting and the wrong style of animation has a good chance of sinking this ship.
When talking about animation (as we mentioned earlier), it’s important that we reiterate one thing: This movie needs to stick with animation. We really don’t want to see another campy, goofy, poorly-thought-out version of Mario and Luigi in the flesh and blood world. It’s been done, it flopped, move on (PLEASE, move on).
Let us know your thoughts on a potential Super Mario Bros. animated movie, dear readers. Also, stay tuned to PCU for more details on this as they become known!