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The New ‘Mario Bros. Movie’ Trailer Just Leaves Me More Conflicted

Mario flies in a go-kart in the Mario Bros. Movie.

The second trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie dropped today, and there is … so much in it.

Apparently Nintendo and Illumination are trying to shove every single Mario game that ever existed into this film. There’s Donkey Kong and Mario Kart and Luigi’s Mansion and all the items from all the games. Is there a Dr. Mario reference somewhere that was too quick for me to catch? Maybe. That Mario Golf game? Possibly. There’s too much. There’s just too much here.

Then there’s the voice. We didn’t hear much new Chris Pratt stuff, which feels ominous. I love Anya Taylor-Joy, but Peach left me cold. At least Charlie Day is funny as Luigi?

What’s really tough for me right now, and I’ll thank you to respect my privacy during this difficult emotional time, is that I grew up with Mario and Luigi’s original voices from The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, in which they both had Brooklyn accents. By the time Nintendo introduced their new Italian accents in the ’90s, I was so used to the old ones that I could never accept the change. I was like an aging parent who refuses to believe that this newfangled noise you listen to is music, except I was a teenage nerd.

I expected to be happy about Nintendo’s return to the vintage voices, even if it meant more Chris Pratt in my life, but that’s not how I feel! It seems like the movie is going for a mix of the Brooklyn and Italian voices, but not in a natural-sounding way. It sounds more like fan service, with Mario shouting all his catchphrases, and it just feels like the worst of both worlds. Combine that with all the game references, and it seems like this movie is trying to be everything for everyone.

Will kids like it? Would I have liked it as a kid? I truly don’t know. I watched a ton of stuff growing up that made me squirm in secondhand embarrassment, including the aforementioned Super Mario Bros. Super Show. But I would have loved—and benefited from—more high quality, well-made entertainment. I want that for today’s kids, too! Instead, this trailer makes the movie look like a frantic attempt at maximum fan service.

But my kids are big Mario fans, so I’ll most likely take them to see it. I hope that I’ll be surprised by the quality. Right now, though, I’m wondering if it’s just not possible to turn a franchise like Mario into a story that you can watch instead of play. Maybe we need to let Mario exist on his own terms, squashing goombas and catching mushrooms into eternity.

(featured image: Nintendo/Illumination)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and watches Marvel movies. You can check out more of her writing at linktr.ee/juliaglassman, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.