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What do we actually want from a Mario movie?

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This is, ultimately, the big one. It’s the reason Pratt’s casting has made us nervous; it’s the reason making a Mario movie in the first place has always seemed like such a daunting prospect. Because main characters in movies have to have a personality, and Mario … doesn’t?

That’s not even a burn! For a video game character like Mario—who exists almost entirely to just be a player avatar to run and jump through all of Nintendo’s beautiful, goofy worlds—any kind of personality would mostly serve as a distraction or a demerit. (Nobody needs to hear Mario yell “Eat feet!” after every third Goomba he stomps into mushroom paste.)

But the Mario in the movie can’t work like that: He’s going to have to have a viewpoint, and an arc, and be, well, a person. The trailer suggests we’ll be doing the fish-out-of-water thing of him being a recent transplant to the Mushroom Kingdom, so we’re expecting a fair amount of “guy confused by the weird stuff around him.” But ultimately, this is all going to come down to the writing, and to Pratt: They have to make Mario a compelling character to spend time with, which is literally something that his video games have never had to do. It’s a daunting prospect, and we just don’t get enough of the character in the trailer to suggest how well it’ll be tackled.

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