Nintendo unleashed the first trailer for its long-anticipated animated The Super Mario Bros. Movie today—the first time the company’s red-overall’ed plumber/professional problem solver has appeared in theatrical form since the ambitious, bizarre, and financially disastrous live-action Super Mario Bros. movie from 1993.
The reactions to the trailer have been a surprisingly mixed bag, with a lot more positives than we’d honestly been expecting. On the one hand, this is, undeniably, the most beautiful piece of animation that studio Illumination—best known for its Minions movies—has ever produced, with the appearance of Koopa King Bowser’s flying flagship giving off genuine vibes of menace. Jack Black also looks to be having a lot of fun as said bad guy, and the blend of real stakes and goofy comedy feels spot-on. (Cartoon penguins: Cute!)
On the other hand, there’s the whole Chris Pratt of it all; there was probably no voice the Guardians Of The Galaxy star could have busted out in this trailer that would have lived up to all the hype/dread, but hearing “Chris Pratt does a very mild Brooklyn accent” come out of Mario’s mustache was definitely a bit of a let-down.
Which leads us to a question: What, actually, do we want from a Mario movie? On what metrics could this thing genuinely succeed artistically—and not just as a franchise-bolstering cash cow? We’ve jotted down a few thoughts, now that the teaser has given us just enough hope for this thing that we might actually have to live with seeing them dashed all over again.