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Charles Martinet's Super Mario Bros. Movie Role Proves Mario's In Good Hands

Beyond the fun that's to be had in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," with its kid-appealing charm that's absolutely jam-packed with Easter eggs for fans of the classic games, there's a surprisingly emotional core that subtly drives the narrative forward. The brotherly component of Mario and Luigi's relationship hits the ol' heartstrings fast, yet effectively — the Baby Mario scene easily being enough to make your eyes gloss up just a little bit.


The brotherly love and support is clear even in the early moments of "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" when Mario and his dad — voiced by the legendary Charles Martinet — butt heads over Mario and Luigi's decision to start their own plumbing services business. Luigi believes in Mario, and Mario will do anything to protect his little brother.

Those same sentiments seem to extend to Charles Martinet's decision to participate in the movie. Martinet, of course, is the current and longest-running voice actor for Mario in the game series, having taken on the role back in 1995. His inclusion in this film in a role other than Mairio was a sore and confusing subject when the casting decisions were initially announced, with Chris Pratt taking over as the voice of Mario.


Well, now that the movie is in theaters, two things have become abundantly clear: Pratt's Brooklyn-based Mario is brilliant, and Martinet's role is more than just an added bonus for die-hard fans. His presence in the movie is a perfect casting decision that not only helps to give the movie even more heart and authenticity but also shows that Mario and the longevity of this franchise — both in games and movies — are in good hands.


Besides being Mario and Luigi's dad, Martinet voices a character named Giuseppe who's hanging out in Punch-Out Pizzaria as the brothers watch the first TV commercial for their plumbing business. The commercial features Pratt doing the classic Mario voice from the video games. After watching it, Mario questions whether or not he should have gone with that voice, asking Luigi, "Is it too much?"


Delighted, Giuseppe stops playing what is clearly "Donkey Kong," turns around from the arcade cabinet to face the brothers, and enthusiastically exclaims in the easily-recognizable Mario voice, "Too much? It's-a perfect! Wa-hoo!" He then jumps up with a fist in the air just like Mario does in the video games.

Martinet's scene as Giuseppe is short and sweet, but it's a perfect moment that encapsulates why he was cast in the role. Before "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" even has a chance to get its legs underneath it, this moment is an assurance that Mario and this entire franchise have been nurtured and cared for by the best of the best. More importantly, however, it's a clear indication that Martinet is on board with Pratt's performance, giving Mario fans a much-needed peace of mind that even with the movie's semi-drastic departure from the video games, Mario can still remain true to its natural super self.


Passing the torch

It's interesting to think about Martinet's role as Mario and Luigi's dad, and how the role develops over the course of the movie. In the beginning, he brushes off Mario's business, telling him that he's bringing Luigi down with him. A bit dismissive of a tone to start off with, at the end of the film, he adamantly exclaims, "These are my boys!"


In addition to Giuseppe, this is another great on-screen moment that furthers Martinet's approval of this new cinematic franchise, as well as the passing of the torch from Martinet to Pratt. It's a brilliant release of emotions in such a short amount of time — not just for fans, but perhaps also Martinet himself — that firmly establishes Pratt as the new Mario for years to come.

It's funny. Mario's dad's tone of eventual acceptance is not too far off from those on social media praising the movie (and, more specifically, Chris Pratt). This may seem to be a bit in the weeds, but maybe if fans thought a little more critically about Pratt and Martinet's involvement in the movie before it was released — or, at the very least, waited to see the movie before outright dismissing it — they would have seen the greater significance of the castings.


"The Super Mario Bros. Movie" serves as a testament to Charles Martinet's iconic portrayal of Mario himself. It's also a sign of the times — Martinet isn't getting any younger — and an example of how characters can evolve to fit whatever landscape is presented, provided that it's handled with respect for the original source material. Martinet's presence in the movie serves as a perfect reminder of this, showing fans that although things may change, the spirit of Mario will always remain the same.

Wa-hoo! Indeed.