Friday, August 24, 2007

King of Kong review

Some documentaries have to work to create conflict, drama and tension, but King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters seems like it was a story truly destined to be told. Its amazing how this real life story is so clear and powerful. It has so much going for it with the tension of competition, good guys vs bad guys, justice striving against tyranny, man battling machine, a whole lot of heart, clean honest fun, and a very satisfying message. This is the kind of movie that had everyone in my theater cheering, and laughing, booing and clapping. It is the best kind of documentary, and a fantastic film, because it engaged the audience.

King of Kong follows family man Steve Wiebe as he challenges the champion Billy Mitchell for the title of worlds best Donkey Kong player. Steve strives to beat the top score of Billy time and time again, and to play a fair, honestly game. But this film isn't just about records, and classic gaming though, it is so much more. Through interviews with Steve Wiebe, and Billy Mitchell, their friends, family, and colleagues we sees a story unfold of men with skill, passion, and precise determination. It is a story that manages to focus the audience, and rally them to a clear, common goal. But also by focusing on something so straightforward, albeit incredibly challenging and intricate, the film has the ability to show us some larger themes, because these people are so sincerely passionate, and feel larger than life. Of course we end up rooting with Steve for the win; not just because he is the underdog though, but because he really seems like a genuinely good guy. And we end up booing the pretensions of Billy Mitchell because he is quite clearly a pompous jackass.

These are real people who quite naturally have become archetypes. If it had been scripted this movie wouldn't have been as good. Sure it might have been slightly more dramatic, but this film has a wonderful organic quality. Behind all the caricatures, and very 'serious' fun, lies some honest and absolutely fascinating people.

I highly recommend this documentary to everyone.

4.5 / 5

For more reviews please check out my Flixter page.

Watch the trailer for King of Kong right here. It is really an great film that I hope people see. It should release in most cities this weekend, but you might have to look for the more art house kind of places to find it.

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