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Opening Minutes of Mario Movie Explain How to Watch a Movie

LOS ANGELES — In order to ensure every viewer can enjoy the experience, the opening scene of the recently released The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a tutorial helping moviegoers understand how to watch a movie.

“We want every second of the film to be a nostalgic cacophony for Mario fans,” explained one of the film’s directors, Aaron Horvath. “As everyone who’s played the original knows, the start of Super Mario is designed to explain how to play without words or instructions; move or die to a Goomba, jump to get over the pipe, etc. Little references like having Charles Martinet playing arcade games are cute, but we wanted the Mario movie to really feel like playing a Mario game. And that means explaining to viewers how to watch the movie they are watching.”

The wordless scene begins with Mario walking into the Downtown Brooklyn Alamo Drafthouse theater. He then pays for a ticket to an unspecified movie and chooses his seat from a touch-screen menu. Then he finds his seat and proceeds to order popcorn by writing it on a piece of paper and handing it to a server. Finally, a quick montage shows Mario laughing, crying, and cheering at the screen before leaving the theater to meet up with Luigi as the rest of the movie’s plot unfolds.

Film reviewers such as New Yorker critic Harold Blankenship have called the scene “unnecessary.”

“Viewers had to have already bought a ticket to get in, so why do we need to see Mario do it?” Blankenship asks in his review. “This is supposed to be a video game adaptation; why does this have to be so grounded in reality to start? Yes, I understand this will be some people’s first movie — as it’s a film intended for children — but this scene could’ve been edited down for clarity.” 

Though derided by critics, Mario fans online have posted in appreciation of the opening scene.

“WHAT A PERFECT WAY TO START,” exclaimed Super Mario Fan Forum poster Mrs.MarioMario, who has Bowsette as a user icon. “It captures Miyamoto’s vision perfectly! Just like he wanted us all to understand intrinsically how to move Mario, he wants us to learn how to watch a movie. I don’t know how much he was involved but I can tell he would’ve appreciated the scene. Unlike some entitled, so-called ‘critics,’ who label the scene useless, it was great for me as this was my first movie (but, if the sequel rumors are true, not my last!).”

At press time, Illumination Studios revealed that, although no one had found it yet, there is a warp-pipe hidden in the first scene of the film that, if entered, allows viewers to skip to the very last scene of the film.

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