I can’t believe I’m about to write about a celebrity, and yet, here I am. What stirred me to write this piece was the premier trailer for the Super Mario Bros. movie that aired Thursday, October 6th. As you can imagine, the trailer already has generated noise across the internet.
Nintendo partnered with Illumination in this full-length film on one of the most iconic video game heroes of all time, something that had once come as a surprise, given how protective Nintendo is of their IP. Remember the Super Mario Bros. movie from 1993?
Yeah, I try not to remember, either.
This project was announced a few years ago, and the voice actors were revealed at the September 2021 Nintendo Direct. The list of stars caused an uproar, and none raised more of a fuss than the man voicing Mario–Chris Pratt. Even I was surprised–dumbfounded, even. There was some serious rage on the internet, and here are several reasons why this once beloved Parks and Recreation actor became so despised (whether by a loud minority or majority, who knows).
It first started with his divorce from Anna Farris, remarriage to Katherine Schwarzenegger, and apparently some “sexist” posts. Some people took the liberty to interpret his gratitude to a healthy baby girl as a slight against his son with his ex-wife. Even more so, the same critics found issue with all Katherine does while he can only “open a jar of pickles”. Read the snip-it of the post below…Sounds like some haters were really reaching. As a female and a mother, this read completely harmless. Oh, and what does this have to do with Mario?
However, the more glaring issues are with his religious and political affiliations. Elliot Page slung some dirt around the internet, citing that Pratt was anti-LGBTQ because he attends the Zoe Church. This church was framed similarly that to the infamous Hillsong Church, which may have influenced the negative online swirl. Director, James Gunn, had defended Chris Pratt against the accusations of attending an anti-LGBTQ Church in this now deleted Tweet:
He isn’t. I know the church he currently goes to. Do you? (The answer is you don’t, but you heard from someone who heard from someone who heard from someone where he goes to church, so decided, “yeah, okay, I’ll believe this terrible thing I heard online about this celebrity!”)–James Gunn via Deadline
Pratt also stated he wasn’t extremely religious and has attended other houses of worship as well–such as a Catholic church in Santa Monica. I scoured the internet, and there didn’t seem to be any steadfast truths about Zoe Church’s stance on the LGBTQ community, and all negative associations seem implied. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I see no issue here. Again, what does this have to do with Mario?
Last but not least, people hate Chris Pratt because he had “appeared” conservative-leaning at times. He was roasted for wearing a Don’t Tread on Me shirt–and rumored as a Trump supporter. Newsweek published a “fact-check” article and stated Chris Pratt was never on the record discussing his political stance. In fact, he was quoted in a Men’s Fitness article in 2017:
I don’t feel represented by either side…I really feel there’s common ground out there that’s missed because we focus on the things that separate us.-Chris Pratt via Newsweek
Once again, I ask, what does this have to do with Mario?
The answer: Absolutely nothing.
My first argument simply is that there is no weight behind all those vicious accusations and attacks. Assumptions were made and things were implied, but we do not have evidence capturing Chris Pratt as a sexist, bigot, racist, and whatever horrible name you’d like to call a conservative.
Secondly, and the pinnacle of my argument, what does his personal life have to do with his talents as an actor? His political leanings do not make or break his humor in Guardians of the Galaxy or his cool demeanor in the Jurassic Park movies. If Chris Pratt went to a different Church or was an atheist, it wouldn’t have made him sound like Charles Martinet. If Chris Pratt wasn’t grateful for a healthy child–or if Chris Pratt never got divorced–that would not have made him a better actor.
I’m a firm believer that one must separate the art from the artist. If someone does not have the same beliefs as you, it doesn’t mean they should be banned from future projects. It’s simply asinine. Sure, exceptions can be made if a particular person has committed some atrocities against humanity, but I have yet to see Chris Pratt say or do something so heinous in his personal life that should negatively impact his professional career.
Now, it’s a completely other thing to be skeptical about Chris Pratt’s talents as a voice actor vs a standard film actor. However, I firmly believe his role as Mario in Super Mario Bros. should solely be judged by his voice talent, and nothing else.
Did you miss the trailer? Check it out:
Got an earful of Mario? Good. My verdict will likely sound like that of many: it sounds like Chris Pratt. Some people hate that. As for me, after re-playing the trailer a few times, his slight (very slight) variation in tone and accent (very slight) sounds just fine. It’s not Charles Martinet, sure, but I may not want to hear that “Wahoo” sound for two-plus hours, either. Who knows what backlash this poor actor has to face now, but I want to remind everyone that this trailer only featured a few lines from Mario, and we should withhold judgment until we hear more. Just some food for thought.
I sincerely hope that the arrival of this premier trailer will invigorate people around the globe to thoroughly get excited about this movie. A Nintendo and Illumination partnership for a Super Mario Bros. movie is an epic undertaking, dare I say something that will be memorable for generations. The joy of bringing our favorite plumber to the big screen should not be shrouded by misplaced hatred and internet swirl. I fear that people who buy into “Pratt hate” will influence others, even their children, against this movie, fostering a seed of negativity before the movie could stand a chance.
With the support of Jack Black (he was the hero in this trailer, in my opinion), Charlie Day, Keegan-Michael Key, and much more, Chris Pratt has taken on this monumental task, and we should all hope they all do Super Mario Bros. justice. So, let’s be supportive and not drag names in the mud just because of some assumptions of an actor we don’t even know personally. Let’s grab a bowl of popcorn and be done with the Pratt haters.
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