Chris Pratt, the voice of Super Mario. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Another trailer for the hotly anticipated Super Mario movie has hit the internet; the film looks gorgeous, and surprisingly faithful to the wonderfully weird lore of the games. If there’s a single criticism to be made, it’s Chris Pratt’s “Mario” voice.
It’s become something of an internet tradition to pile on Chris Pratt after the release of a popular trailer (usually a Marvel movie), and the Super Mario movie provided Pratt’s haters with plenty of material.
Most of the voice actors we hear in the trailer match their characters perfectly; Charlie Day nails Luigi’s anxiety, Anya Taylor-Joy is a soft, determined Peach, and Jack Black is clearly having a blast playing Bowser (and putting effort into crafting a gruff, distinctive voice).
Pratt, on the other hand, is saying Mario’s dorky little catchphrases using his regular voice, and it’s a little uncanny.
There’s nothing wrong with Pratt’s voice, exactly; the man has “generic main character” energy, and that matches the essence of Mario, an empty vessel inhabited by the player. But it is strange to hear Pratt’s voice emerge from such an iconic character.
Obviously, kids watching this movie aren’t going to care – to them, Pratt will be Mario. On Twitter, however, adult Super Mario fans weren’t impressed.
But Pratt’s flat voice acting wasn’t the sole inspiration for the pile on. Over the years, Pratt has gained a reputation as a staunch conservative and Evangelical Christian; at one point, actor Elliot Page called him out on Twitter, claiming that Pratt belonged to a church that is “infamously anti-LGBTQ.”
The church in question was believed to be Hillsong Church, which does view homosexuality as “sinful.” Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn once corrected the record on Twitter, insisting that Pratt didn’t deserve his bad reputation, while Pratt himself later claimed to have never attended the church, and even described himself as “not a religious person.”
Marvel fans didn’t buy it, and regularly post tweets and memes that frame Pratt as a homophobic MAGA-enthusiast (for the record, Pratt has never made a disparaging comment about the LGBT community). After the Mario trailer showed a scene featuring Rainbow Road, Pratt’s haters took the opportunity to crack a well-worn joke.
As for being religious, well, Pratt’s Instagram is filled with posts that praise God; there is even a photo of him dragging a large metal crucifix up a mountain, which seems like a religious thing to do. At the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards, Pratt famously went on a lengthy tangent about God, Jesus, and the power of prayer.
While he might never have attended Hillsong Church, Pratt did mention in an interview that he plays golf with Chad Veach, the pastor of Zoe Church. Veach previously told The New York Times that he modeled Zoe Church after Hillsong Church, and was involved in the 2017 film The Heart of Man, a docudrama on “sexual brokenness” which aligns homosexuality with porn addiction and infidelity.
Pratt’s haters might be on to something. Or maybe they just find the actor kind of annoying, and the mass mockery has become a running joke.
Whether Chris Pratt is unfairly maligned, or not, he’s not a great fit for Mario; the man should have practiced that voice before he got to the recording studio.