Information about The Super Mario Movie — you know, the one with Chris Pratt — has been slimmer than Bowser’s chances with Peach, but that’s all about to change. This week, Nintendo has announced a special movie-related Nintendo Direct, meaning that we’ll hopefully get to hear Pratt’s take on the plumber, sans Charles Martinet’s iconic voice. Also, what the movie is actually about. Maybe.
Until Thursday, 6th October at 1:05pm Pacific Time (when the Direct is scheduled to take place), all we have to go on is… this poster. Let’s take a look:
It may not look like much, but *cracks knuckles* we’re used to wringing out every bit of information from what looks like a dry information sponge, so trust us: We got this. Let’s-a-go.
The first thing you’ll notice — other than the back of Mario — is the sheer number of Toads in both the foreground and the background. Seriously, so many Toads. The more you look, the more there are.
Now, this could mean one of two things:
- The movie is set in the Mushroom Kingdom, and is full of Toads, all the time
- The movie has a bit where Mario goes to Toad Town in the Mushroom Kingdom
We’re inclined to believe the second one, partly because we don’t know if we could stomach two hours of Toad stuff, partly because we highly doubt that Illumination would want to make a movie that’s just a man talking to weird little mushroom men for two hours, but mostly because of Captain Toad (read on for our thoughts on him).
But our main question is: Do all the Toads have different voices? Did they cast loads of actors for the Toad population, or just one, like how the games do it? We don’t know if we’re prepared for Toads to all sound different… or worse, like a bunch of actors all doing a Toad impression.
Okay, so the Toad who looks like he’s showing Mario around looks a lot like Captain Toad. He might be — he’s got the bag and the sense of adventure — but he hasn’t got the hat. He could just be a normal fun-guy.
But the fact that he’s seemingly giving Mario a tour is important. That means that it’s Mario’s first time here in Toad Town, right? Which means that there is at least some part of the movie where Mario is not in Toad Town. Phew.
Also, we can probably safely assume that this Toad is the one voiced by Keegan-Michael Key. We’re trying to imagine it. Hm. And… he has teeth. Have Toads always had teeth?
But let’s turn our attention to what (Captain) Toad has on his backpack: Camping gear. A blanket, a mug, rope, a frying pan, and a lantern are all visible on his tiny backpack, which is the size of his entire body (seriously, Mario, you could offer to help). Looking at the background, and following Mario’s gaze up to the top of that intimidating mountain, makes us think that Mario and (Captain) Toad are about to attempt to scale said mountain. And what’s at the top?
Princess Peach is back
It’s only Peach’s Castle! The iconic pink-and-white chateau is placed right at the top of a colossal hill as a clear focal point for the poster, and we know what that means: It’s the goal. Maybe for the whole movie, maybe just for this chapter of the movie, but either way, Mario’s gonna get up there. With the help of (Captain) Toad.
We can also see the stained glass Peach window right in the centre, which hopefully implies that ol’ Peachy is going to look recognisably Peachsome in this movie, and won’t have a Princess Fiona-from-Shrek-style makeover to make her look more human. It’s always been a bit creepy that she has somewhat human proportions in comparison to Mario’s diminutive and cartoonish appearance. But that’s probably the point.
A mix of art styles
Although most of the art in this poster looks (unsurprisingly) a lot like animation studio Illumination’s other work — the soft, vibrant cartoonish roundness of Despicable Me, in particular — the movie looks like it’ll mix it up a bit. In the lower left, we can see an antiques stall, with voxel versions of old-school Mario items, like a P-Switch and the infamous axe that dropped Bowser into the lava.
Up top, the cartoonish stuff gives way to some more photorealistic shrubbery and grass, looking a lot like one of those “Mario made in Unreal Engine” videos we see all the time.
A quick rundown of references we saw — see if you can find them too:
- Jumpman’s hammer from Donkey Kong
- A barrel from Donkey Kong
- The axe from Super Mario Bros.
- Biddybuds from Super Mario 3D Land
- A Cheep Cheep in a bag
- A Yoshi egg
- Toad’s badges from Super Mario Odyssey
- A boomerang from Super Mario Bros. 3
- A chest from Super Mario Bros. 3
- P-Switches from Super Mario Bros. 3
- Music Boxes from Super Mario Bros. 3
- Cannons from Super Mario 64
- Peach’s Castle from Super Mario 64
- A question block
- Patterned and extremely vertical hills
- A purple mushroom platform, similar to the ones first seen in New Super Mario Bros.
Toads in peril
Perhaps the most easy-to-spot of the easter eggs (not counting the antiques shop) is the multitude of Toads in some sort of peril. It looks like they’re all trying to ascend the hellish platforming level that will get Mario and his Toad friend up to Peach’s castle, and unsurprisingly, they’re not doing great. We can see a Toad falling off the donut blocks, a Toad who’s stranded after going through a pipe, and plenty of Toads that just look like they’re stuck somewhere they shouldn’t be.
If this were a video game, we’d assume that Mario’s job was to rescue all those Toads. But since this is a movie, we assume that they’re just going to be comic relief. Hope you like slapstick!
If you spotted that Yoshi egg hidden at the back of the antiques shop, you’re no doubt asking the same question we are: Is Yoshi coming to this movie?
And, if so… who’s voicing him? Yoshi is usually pretty taciturn other than saying “Yoshi!” and “mlem!” but we wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled a Chris Pratt on Yoshi, too. Who do we think they’d hire? Our money is on JK Simmons.
Everything in this town costs coins. That means that coins — which we see a Toad carrying, and they’re massive — are the official currency of Mushroom Kingdom, just like in the games. Do they disappear when Mario touches them? Is he able to fit them in his pocket so he can buy stuff? And why is everything so expensive? 4 coins for a cupcake is insane.
Super Nintendo World tie-in?
That jumble of pipes looks a lot like Super Nintendo World, the Mario-flavoured theme park nestled inside Universal Studios. Nintendo has been pushing Super Nintendo World really hard recently, despite the fact that one of them is in Japan and no one is allowed to fly to Japan yet for COVID reasons, and the other one in the USA isn’t built yet.
It seems odd that a movie based on a series like Super Mario would feature a reference to a theme park that’s also based on Super Mario, but maybe this movie is also an advert for the theme park. Somehow.
Mario’s outfit is very high resolution, isn’t it? Check out that denim. Look at those seams and creases. Oof. That’s nice.
But there is one big upgrade we’re not sure about. Mario’s shoes have always been very cartoony — just big brown shapes on his feet. We’ve always assumed that they’re slip-ons. He’s a busy lad. But here we can see that he has laces. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?! Probably nothing. It’s just different.
Mario’s bum looks bad. It looks wet and lumpy, like a bad omelette. He’s had a better bum in the past! Maybe they had to tone it down so it didn’t dominate conversation like Mario’s nipples always do?
A guess at the plot
If we had to guess, we’d say that Mario has to climb up to the castle for some reason. It doesn’t look like the castle is up there by accident — like a horrible earthquake or some kind of Bowser-related incident — but it’s clearly a perilous trip, with plenty of Toads falling off all the way up. Why they haven’t built a sensible staircase is beyond us.
But we’d guess that Mario’s adventure up to the castle is but a small segment of the plot. We can’t imagine two hours of Toad-themed Mario platforming would be particularly interesting. It mostly just makes for a cool poster!
We also think that this scene probably takes place early on, since Mario isn’t yet accompanied by Luigi or Donkey Kong.
“Only in theatres”
Seems like it’s not coming to streaming services immediately, like many movies during the pandemic. Also in the fine print, we can see that the film is not rated, and that it’s probably also coming in 3D, since the “Real D” logo is on the bottom — they’re a company known for their 3D projection technology.
Well, we know Mario (Chris Pratt) and Toad (Keegan-Michael Key) are in the movie, and we now know more or less what they look like (although it’s not a huge surprise). But we haven’t seen Luigi (Charlie Day), Bowser (Jack Black), Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), or Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen) yet — and if Luigi isn’t accompanying his brother here, when exactly does he turn up?
So many questions. And not many answers, unless the question is “will there be Toads?”
Well, that’s about all the nuggets we could mine out of this particular vein of Super Mario Movie info, but we’re curious if you think there’s anything we’ve missed. Tell us in the comments if you’ve managed to squeeze out anything new!