Home > Movie, Review > Movie Review: The King of Kong (2007)

Movie Review: The King of Kong (2007)

Man with back to us with his hand raised in the air.Summary:
The world of competitive gaming (and by world, we mostly mean the US) has been a tight-knit bunch of people since the 1980s.  Everyone acknowledges the awesomeness that is the head referee and current high-score in Donkey Kong and perfect score in PacMan holder Billy Mitchell.  All that changes when a determined rival shows up in the form of Steve Wiebe, a middle school science teacher.  Is Steve actually better than Billy?  Is the competitive gaming institute corrupt?  Is Billy as good as he says he is?  Should videotaped gaming sessions count?  All these questions and more are addressed in this documentary.

This is hands-down the most amusing and engrossing documentary I’ve ever seen.  Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve actually played Donkey Kong, so I sort of understand what’s going on when the guys play.  Maybe it’s that I’ve known uber-nerds like this my whole life.  You know the type–awkward, greasy, yet positive of his own awesomeness.  I think it’s mostly that it’s a portrayal of a group of people united by what they love to do as opposed to who or what they are that makes this such a watchable documentary though.

Still, though, the documentary could have gone horribly awry if it weren’t for the skill of the filmmakers.  They manage to tell the story in a way that lets us laugh at them, but not in a cruel way.  They let us see that these guys know they’re a bit odd to more mainstream Americans, but they don’t care.  That makes it totally cool for us to be amused at how seriously they take it all.

However, the documentary does more than show us a subculture and let us be amused.  You can see your own group reflected in this one.  We all have the devious person, the person who just wants power, the person who just wants recognition, the henchman, etc…  It’s fun to see these realistic group dynamics on screen surrounding an issue as non-controversial as Donkey Kong.

I highly recommend The King of Kong to anyone who loves documentaries, mockumentaries like Modern Family, or videogames.

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Netflix

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