I’ve always preferred Sonic to Mario. Now before you all light up the torches and fuel up the chainsaws, I’m not saying Sonic’s a better character than Mario. Sonic and his nineties attitude have had a journey over the years that has been something akin to a balloon tied to an abandoned shopping trolley tumbling down stairs. Mario’s managed to carry an entire company 35 years with a few “it’s a me” and a can do attitude.
All this to say that when the Sonic the Hedgehog movie was announced, I understood why they were doing it. They had this character that was a relic from a time long gone and horribly dated and needed him pushed in front of a new audience that hadn’t been through the dark times of Sonic circa 2005 - 2014.
With the Mario animated movie being announced recently, I have absolutely no idea why they’re making it. Let’s go down the checklist of the “Sonic Test” as I like to call it:
Do you need to remind people of your character to boost sales?
No there’s no need for it, everyone that’s ever been on the internet knows who Mario is and pretty much every game in his franchise has curb stomped the competition. So yeah there’s no need but hey companies aren’t going to say no to a casual extra million in the bank accounts.
Do you need to update your character for the new age?
Again no, because in all due respect to Mario and his collective empire, his character has always been something of a nil value. With that I mean there’s no substance of character to him. He’s the safe, bankable star that Nintendo has sandblasted off any traces of character that could scare people off. He’s nothing more than a brand to be plastered onto lunchboxes, bedspreads and no doubt suppositories if Nintendo could get away with it.
Time for a reboot?
Why would you reboot your franchise when it keeps your company afloat? Cross that one off the list.
Keeping up with competition?
Nintendo’s only had one crack at a Mario film and.. Well it was a thing. That is the only statement I can make with any confidence. After that I feel like Nintendo was scarred by that experience and obstinately ignored the last couple decades of video game movies.
Imagine their surprise when they cracked the curtain at Nintower and saw that Sonic was getting his own movie. That must have lit the ole console war fire in their stomach along with murmurs of anything you can do I can do better.
Chasing the competition being behind these actions would make sense when we look at the announced cast. Don’t get me wrong there are some awesome actors here - Keegan Michael Keegan fresh off Schmigadoon!, Ana Taylor Joy killing it in The Queen's Gambit, Chris Pratt just being Chris Pratt and many others - but they already had the perfect voice actors at their disposal.
Charles Martinet, Dolores Rogers and the rest of the VO cast that work in the games have been doing so for years and I don’t see anyone complaining about them but the Sonic film had Jim Carey and James Marsden and Nintendo’s not about to be upstaged by a woodland creature dammit.
What’s the point of the new Mario movie? I’m going to chalk it up to keeping up with the competition for the moment. I can’t say I’m excited for the movie but I was pleasantly surprised by the Sonic movie so who knows… Only time will tell.
Are you excited for the new Mario movie? Who’d be your dream cast for it (and why does it include Danny Devito)?