“Didn’t the kids in the ’80s play Super Mario Bros?”
The question helps add to the pressure when it comes to the latest iteration of a classic video game — one of the best-selling titles of all time.
The franchise has spawned numerous games, an animated TV series and an animated Japanese film, a live-action American film, and even a theme park — all of which have cemented its place in pop culture.
Now bearded plumbers Mario and Luigi are getting the Hollywood treatment in a feature-length animated feature voiced by the Jurassic Park cast Chris Pratt This is It’s always sunny in Philadelphia Star Charlie Day.
Both admit that “screw up” has been their top priority now.
Pratt told Sky News: “The pressure of these characters, you know, you can feel it.
“There’s a built-in expectation … all this nostalgia, like games from childhood, scores, characters, little Easter eggs.
“Anyone who grew up playing Nintendo or liked these characters, you’re going to see the movie.
“The same thing that makes you think: ‘Oh, please don’t screw this up – it was such a big part of my childhood’, the same thing that makes you so elated and happy when you see this movie, because we didn’t thank God, screw it up.”
Day added: “Especially everybody’s so passionate, everybody’s grown up with the characters. They love them. Look, our job is to do the best we can.”
However, some fans of the game have criticized Pratt’s casting, emphasizing that he has no Italian ancestry and scoffing at his Brooklyn accent.
Day was quick to defend his co-star: “I’m as Italian as Robert De Niro, so yeah [I do have Italian heritage]but I’m going to vouch for my buddy Chris here and say, having seen this movie, his acting was top notch.
“I think everyone is waiting to see the movie and then make a decision because this guy did a great job.”
Despite the backlash, Pratt said it was part of his jump.
“For the most part, you don’t know much about Mario and Luigi playing video games, Princess Peach, Wario, Yoshi or any of those characters,” he said.
“[Mario’s] Essentially a blue collar, American worker.And when the light [the animation company behind the film] Calling and thinking I’m right for that role, I’m like: ‘Of course I’m going to do that’. I am very excited. “
Mario first appeared as a character in Donkey Kong in 1981, got his own arcade game in 1983, and then became a platformer for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985.
Meanwhile, Japanese company Nintendo, founded in 1889, initially produced handmade playing cards before branching out into gaming consoles in the late 1970s.
Now, directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, it’s the second American feature film adaptation of the game, following the 1993 adaptation starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo. Producers are hoping this version will be even more successful.
A few years ago, video game adaptations for TV and film were synonymous with failure.
But with adaptations of games like The Last of Us, The Witcher, and Arcane (the first video game adaptation to win a Primetime Emmy) achieving critical and commercial success — which many felt This is when games really hit the mainstream.
The video games industry is worth hundreds of billions of pounds globally and is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK. The hobby has only grown in popularity in recent years, with many people turning to gaming during the lockdown.
Pratt and Day agree that this is a A boom time for video games.
“We’re getting better at that, right? I think a few years ago, you’d go back and there was a lot of space between video game movies,” Day said.
“Now, I think now that they’re making a movie, it’s getting as much attention as they’re making any other story. I think before [it] Kind of like: ‘well, it’s just a one-off for the kids’. “
Meanwhile, Pratt, who is married to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s daughter Katherine, has received positive feedback from his first-line in-laws.
He said: “I took my brother-in-law Christopher [Schwarzenegger, 25, Arnold’s youngest son]who is the big player.
“[He] He grew up playing all of these games, and he says “I think it’s the best video game movie I’ve ever seen”. Pretty high rating. “
Fans of the franchise will be happy to know there may be more to come.
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Dai said: “The lighting [the US studio who teamed up with Nintendo to make film]Well, they did bring a lot of content from the game, not just the first game, but many Mario games — and other Nintendo titles. “
Pratt added: “It gets you excited about the possibility of this Nintendo Cinematic Universe, which is pretty cool. I hope you’ll see more of the characters in the next 10 years.”
With both stars having 11-year-old boys, will their reaction to the film be a true litmus test for audience acceptance?
Pratt and Day don’t think so.
“I think my harshest critic might be some middle-aged man who lives in a basement somewhere,” Day said.
“But I think my son will be fine.”
Pratt agrees — both boys are “very excited” to see their dad play one of the greatest video games of all time, and only time will tell what the rest of the world thinks of Super Mario Bros.’ latest adventure.
The Super Mario Bros. movie is out now in the UK.