Nobody is excited about Chris Pratt’s Normal Dude rendition of Mario in Nintendo’s upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie, but that’s perfectly okay. The disappointment is balanced out by the sheer hype we now all have after hearing Jack Black as Bowser. It sounded like perfect casting the moment it was announced, and the trailer itself confirmed that the larger-than-life actor was a good fit for the boisterous villain. But even if you’ve seen that, I urge you to see Jack Black’s portion of the Comic-Con panel for the movie, because it is fantastic.
I mean, look at this. From the moment he gets on stage, the energy in the room explodes. People start standing up as Black starts waving around what appears to be a Koopa shell backpack. Hearing him scream as he throws it into the crowd is pure catharsis. Whoever got hit in the head by that thing probably just started hollering even louder.
Later on, Black revealed that he dyed his beard orange in anticipation of the movie. And then he started doing the voice while sitting on a throne, because that’s King Koopa to you, good sir.
Black sometimes slips into a small roar in his performance, which helps Bowser sound less like him putting on a character and more like he’s slipping into an alter ego. It’s funny, because you could make the argument that this still kinda sounds like Jack Black, and that’s exactly what everyone is complaining about when it comes to Chris Pratt as Mario. But to be fair, it’s easier to feel Jack Black’s enthusiasm about this whole thing. When Pratt starts talking about growing up with the games and how his life-long dream was always to play Mario during the Direct that revealed the trailer, he doesn’t sound convincing as much as he sounds lost.
Black, though? It truly does sound like he was waiting for the moment he could finally bellow and growl as the famous Nintendo villain. You can hear him having fun with it, which might explain why the trailer spends way more time with Bowser than it does with its apparent hero.
When I watch this movie, it’s going to be entirely about getting to see Jack Black in his full, unadulterated glory.