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The SMB Movie Continues To Do Right By Pauline (& Avoids A King Kong Situation)

The new animated "The Super Mario Bros" absolutely loves packing every scene with references to the long-running video game franchise of the same name. Considering that the history of everybody's favorite plumber, Mario, started way back in the 1980s, it makes perfect sense that there is plenty for the movie to draw from. Luckily, it seems as if Pauline, who some might recognize from the video game, "Super Mario Odyssey," makes a fairly early appearance in the movie, but for older fans of "Super Mario," Pauline represents a character that popped up long before the aforementioned video game and movie.

For those of us that weren't around during the era of the original Nintendo, Pauline's first appearance in the video game world is actually in "Donkey Kong," where she is abducted by the titular villain and is often at the top of stages. This means that the person that Mario was climbing up all of those ladders and jumping over barrels for is none other than Pauline. Of course "Donkey Kong" was loosely inspired by the story of "King Kong," another giant ape with a penchant for stealing women, but "The Super Mario Bros." movie avoids having their iteration of Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen) abscond with Pauline.

Pauline was Mario's first love interest

Surprisingly, the "Donkey Kong" video game didn't exactly garner a lot of support before its release, with legendary Nintendo creator Shigeru Miyamoto telling NPR, "We were told that everyone thought that it wouldn't succeed. But because the game did so well, even today based on that experience, when somebody tells me, 'oh, that name is too strange, it won't work,' I get very convinced and say: 'Yes, I've thought of something that is very unique! This is going to do well.'"

As mentioned earlier, Pauline has a long history with the world of "Mario," and it is great that "The Super Mario Bros." movie has her as the mayor of New York City, which echoes her position in "Super Mario Odyssey." This game sees Mario travel to many different worlds, one being "New Donk City," which is an obvious stand-in for New York City with its towering skyscrapers and dense population. Within "Odyssey," Pauline is the mayor of New Donk City, so it is an obvious nod to the character in "The Super Mario Bros" with her continuing the role of public figurehead.

Although Pauline acts as Mario's first love interest, she is an unnamed figure in "Donkey Kong" and referred to as "The Lady" or "Beautiful Girl," only later gaining the name in which she is now known. Still, old-school Nintendo fans may not have ever expected to see characters like Donkey Kong, Pauline, and Mario pop up in the same movie, and audiences are lucky that there wasn't a forced "King Kong" style scene and that Pauline hasn't been reduced to a person in need of rescue.