KING OF KONG, THE
Billy Mitchell, hot sauce maker and Gamer of the Century in the 1980s, scored 874,300 points in Donkey Kong - a record many thought would never be beaten. After stumbling across this record online in 2003, Steve Wiebe, a high school science teacher, perfected his game every night when his family went to bed and not only surpassed Mitchell's record but ended up with 1,000,000 points, a score all thought was impossible. Steve quickly became a celebrity in his hometown. Meanwhile Billy Mitchell hatched a plan to reclaim his fallen Donkey Kong record.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The filmmakers got lucky: this subject became more interesting and more personal as it went along. The rivalry between the two Donkey Kong champs turned into a contest not so much David and Goliath but Good and Evil. I kid you not.
Donkey Gong is a video game that flourished in the 80s and I could go to my grave without giving it another thought. Manipulating a gaming joystick is not my idea of eternal happiness on earth. But as this doco shows, there is a gaming subculture which is built on the passions, obsessions and misspent youth of people who do nothing hut joystick their way through life. Donkey Kong is the hardest of these games, so mastering the top score is a bigger deal than making the pinball machine flash with your momentary victory.
When Billy Mitchell hears that Steve Wiebe has outscored him at a live performance - because scores can be verified by having your game videotaped for the judges - Mitchell goes into action. The big bust of the doco is showing how Billy Mitchell avoids the live confrontation in front of gaming crowds, at all costs.
Mitchell is a dude: he wears black shirt and pants, usually a US flag for a tie and has long, lank, dark hair, and a big moustache. Steve is a clean cut dad. The two are flip sides of a coin. If it weren't for these swirling currents of humanity, the film would bore me Gongless. But it turns out to be character thriller with a big finish.
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KING OF KONG, THE (PG)
CAST: Documentary featuring Billy Mitchell, Steve Wiebe and others
PRODUCER: Ed Cunningham
DIRECTOR: Seth Gordon
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ty Clancey, Luis Lopez, Ross Tuttle (camera operators)
EDITOR: J. Clay Tweel (assistant editor)
MUSIC: Craig Richey
RUNNING TIME: 79 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 28, 2008