After watching this film, I made a bold statement to my brother…this will go down as one of my favorite movies of all time. If you have never heard of it, here is a synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:
There’s more drama in this small documentary than in most serious Oscar contenders. A marriage is on the line, integrity is tested, and friendships falter–all in the name of a video game called Donkey Kong. The King Of Kong may inspire both tears and frustrated sighs, but it’s most remarkable for its humor…Billy Mitchell is a towering figure in the world of classic video games such as Donkey Kong and Pac-Man. He has held records in several games, and his high score in Donkey Kong (considered the toughest of the old titans) has been unbeaten for decades. But newcomer Steve Wiebe finds purpose in the game after losing his job, and discovers his natural aptitude at the game. The amiable Steve is just as likely to win the “nice guy of the year” award as he is to best Billy’s record, and this film casts him as a classic hero that viewers love to root for. While Steve is an audience favorite, Billy is a Machiavellian mastermind that rivals any villain from a narrative film. Even though some might argue that the Super Bowl or NCAA tournament is more important, the competition in The King Of Kong rivals the most exciting in sports. Thanks to the film’s wonderful characters, it’s easy to get involved in the drama. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and the people who populate The King Of Kong are as fascinating as any screenwriter’s creation.
The great thing about The King of Kong can be summed up in the last sentence from the above paragraph…truth is stranger than fiction. I am a big fan of documentaries because of that reason, but the director of The King of Kong walked into a goldmine of material. On the outside, it sounds like a bunch of nerds playing video games to see who is best. In reality, the people involved make it more than just that. While documentaries can easily paint a picture that the director wants you to see, that is not the case here. The main adversaries in this film fall easily into a good vs. evil storyline. It will remind you of any classic Hollywood story that pits the forces of evil against all that is good without shoving it all in your face. This is not to say that the director did nothing. Everything is timed and placed just right to add to the drama of what you are seeing. It is not worth missing.