5.29.2007

Film Review: ‘The King of Kong’

Hi, I'm Steve WiebeThe King of Kong” is a soon to be released documentary that follows Steve Wiebe (pronounced WEE-bee) on his quest to break the 25-year old Donkey Kong high score record. The film is a classic David vs. Goliath tale that pits a Washington state junior high Science teacher against the video game establishment in what may become the sleeper hit of the summer.

Wiebe’s nemesis is Billy Mitchell, a bearded Floridian heir to the Rickey’s Hot Sauce throne, who is a character so incredible he simply couldn’t have been made up. He is the perfect villain: mysterious, diabolical and vain. And he has the most incredible set of patriotic neckties ever seen on screen. Mitchell’s heyday was the 1980s, when he dominated the scoreboards of several classic games including Donkey Kong, Burgertime and Pac Man, the latter of which he stakes claim on scoring the first-ever perfect game.

While the film’s backdrop in classic gaming, most notably those presiding over the Twin Galaxies website, is rich with unique personalities (imagine a real life group of Napoleon Dynamites), the film’s real magic is the mano-a-mono, good vs. evil battle for Kong supremacy that wages throughout. And though this type of story has been told countless times before, a good underdog story always delivers. Another recent documentary, “Who the Fuck Is Jackson Pollock,” in which a woman takes on the art establishment, tackles similar terrain but with lesser results.

“The King of Kong” was directed by Seth Gordon, and will soon to be turned into a based-on-true-events Hollywood feature which he will also direct. But make sure to see the documentary, which will be hard to best, as it rolls out across the country this August.

See the trailer:

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