Flotsam: Various and Sundry Life Things and the Mario Movie

1. I’m beginning to settle in at last as the final few necessary tasks and purchases are being wrapped up. Having a new apartment is like having a giant toy; there are all sorts of things you can do with it and you can’t wait to get the chance to play with it.

2. Internet is up at last, though I have it on a kill switch (via the simple expedient of plugging the router into a power strip) so I can turn it off it becomes too much of a distraction.

On that note, I’m working out a schedule for myself to hopefully improve my (frankly appallingly slow) output. So far setting up has kept on interrupting, but even so I’ve found an uptick in production. Amazing what sitting down and just doing the damn work can accomplish.

3. Part of my schedule is anticipated to include Saturday movie nights (don’t like watching movies during the week, since they eat up so much time), and last night it was Megamind. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but that’s another film I’ve been meaning to do an essay on, since it ranks high on my list of underappreciated gems. It’s an example of the best kind of satire: the kind that provides the genuine thrills and particular joys of the genre it’s spoofing, even as it uses the material for comedy (The Princess Bride and Galaxy Quest are other examples of this sort of thing). In this case it pokes fun at comic book superhero tropes while also providing some excellent comic-book-style action / adventure heroics.

It’s also almost infinitely quotable: “Warming up? The Sun is ‘warming up‘?!”

4. The voice cast was announced for the upcoming ‘Super Mario Brothers’ animated movie (entrusted to Blue Sky of all people), and no one seems particularly happy about it. I like Chris Pratt, but him as Mario? I don’t know about that. And last time I checked, Charles Martinet was alive and well. Granted you might not want the high-pitched Mario voice for a whole film, but I happen to know that Mr. Martinet can do many voices (e.g. he was one of the dragons in Skyrim): all he has to do is tone it down a bit.

I really don’t understand why studios do this (it also bugged me when Roger Craig Smith was replaced by Ben Schwartz for Sonic. Schwartz was fine in the role, but it’s annoying nonetheless). Or rather, I understand, but it makes no sense from a fans’ perspective. Studios figure that mainstream audiences will want to see familiar names in the credits, not the relatively obscure voice actors of the games. Filmmakers, and especially studio people, are notoriously out of touch and so don’t realize that the days of star-driven films are largely in the past. No one is going to go see Super Mario Brothers to hear Chris Pratt and Jack Black: they’re going to go see it to see the Mario Brothers (assuming it looks tolerable from the trailers). Keeping Charles Martinet in the title roles would have been a surefire way to garner immediate fan support, which I think is frankly a lot more valuable these days than star power, especially for an animated film.

I still hope the film is good, and I’m not judging it yet, but this isn’t a good sign. Please, please at least be better than the live action film. That should not be a challenge.

(Though for my part, all will be forgiven if they give John Leguizamo and Samantha Mathis cameos. Or if they bring Lance Hendrikson back as the king / chancellor of the Mushroom Kingdom. Come on, people: he never turns down a paycheck!).

5. By the way, I suspect the above is the reason why My Little Pony: The Movie jettisoned most of that show’s fantastic supporting cast in favor of a bunch of new characters with celebrity voice actors. They probably would have re-cast the Mane Six if they thought they could get away with it (“Starring Scarlett Johanson as Twilight Sparkle”).

6. Also, regarding the Mario movie: Dwayne Johnson should have been Donkey Kong. How does one fail to see that?

4 thoughts on “Flotsam: Various and Sundry Life Things and the Mario Movie

  1. The scary thing is, Scar-Jo as Twilight might well have worked. She’s no Tara Strong, to be sure, but her voice-acting chops are far from negligible, as those of us know who suffered through as much of “Her” as we could stomach. (One of those rare cases where a great performance actually makes a film *less* watchable. If you must make a movie about a man having a functionally incestuous affair with his sapient computer, at the very least don’t make the computer so winsomely appealing that all we can think about is how much better she deserves.)

    Liked by 1 person

      • No arguments here. Anyway, I should hope Hollywood learned their lesson from the *last* time they tried to replace Strong in one of her classic roles. (Unless, of course, they’ve forgotten the “Powerpuff Girls” reboot as utterly as the rest of the world has.)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Starring Scarlett Johansson as Twilight Sparkle.”

    *shudder* This is why I like having *original* animated features led by a star cast. Illumination’s *Sing* would likely have been fine with unknown actors and actresses, but putting known stars in the role certainly didn’t *hurt* them. (ScarJo is the porcupine in *Sing.*)

    In the case of films about IPs with established fan bases… Do they *not* do a survey of how big the fan bases for games like Super Mario Brothers actually *are*? You could probably fill half the country’s theaters with Mario fans for a movie without even trying. They seem to think these are niche markets and they have to appeal to a wider audience, which they really *don’t* have to do in cases like this. *pinches bridge of nose, sighes*…

    Liked by 1 person

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