I reacted to the news of the new Super Marios Bros movie with the energy of an eager couple finding out they’re pregnant and then very quickly realizing it’s with Rosemary’s baby.
The poster for the movie was perfect. The floating box with a big ol’ “?”. An invitation to guess, to imagine. To hope.
Then I saw her. Anya Taylor-Joy. Her name, the most ethereal collection of letters known to man. The first words I ever learned to read. If her name isn’t on the page, I write it in the margins just so I can focus.
I blacked out when I read that she would be Princess Peach. Seeing her serene, unbearably coy expression on the big screen always pulls an impossible tenderness from deep within me. Her cosmopolitan (Miami! Argentina! London!) accent simultaneously confuses and lulls me, a siren song crafted beautifully for my ears alone. She is the modern day Helen of Troy. We weren’t—in fact, we aren’t—worthy of witnessing her act any character, much less of her applying her entire powerhouse thespian abilities to dimensionalize a bland damsel whose sole personality trait is being named after a fruit. She’s going to kill it.
I hoped there wouldn‘t be a catch, that this was just an early Christmas present for being a good little boy.
I then felt the vitriolic spit of God land on me as I recognized the next name on the cast list: Chris Pratt. Seeing that colossal clown on the big screen evokes an almost primordial feeling of rage in my body. To see Chris Pratt is to be whispered to by a totalizing violence emerging from deep within Mother Earth. Only a terrible mistake, a dropped stitch of humanity in the fabric of the universe, could lead to the meteoric rise of this absolute jester to stardom. Never have I seen a man make so many consecutive PR blunders, all clearly belying a stew of ugly underneath an already-average exterior. And, to top it all off, this man somehow radiates the opposite of Italian energy, so much so that the news of his casting threatens to reinvigorate the Italian oppression discourse yet again.
To put something so wretched in direct juxtaposition with something so utterly, absurdly perfect is the most perverse experimental theater I have ever experienced. To have Peach voiced by the Platonic ideal of woman and Mario voiced by just the most disgusting little man is such a specific way to profane the Mario canon.
We are ushering in Mario’s flop era with frightening speed. We are crafting a hideous shrine to our revered portly Italian icon with a sign that says, “Please desecrate me!”
It’s important to understand Mario’s story so we can easily understand what is about to be phenomenally botched by the worst human on this planet. The Super Mario Bros games involve him traversing multiple worlds with the goal of rescuing Peach from Bowser and his bastard children, the Koopalings, alongside his brother Luigi and an assorted company of friends, reptiles, and mushrooms. It is implied that Peach would become Bowser’s bride if Mario did not save her, although it is unclear whose company she enjoys most. In the film, Jack Black is playing Bowser, so I think we know the answer.
Although I have general faith in the producers to maintain some sort of narrative coherence, Chris Pratt’s presence is so utterly repulsive that the only way I’ll be able to get through it is by closing my ears and eyes, waiting to be saved by the faint whisper of my beautiful idyllic angel, Anya.