Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Directed by Seth Gordon.
2008. Rated PG-13, 79 minutes.
Steve Wiebe
Billy Mitchell
Walter Day
Steve Sanders

Steve Wiebe tries to break Billy Mitchell's nearly quarter-century old world record in Donkey Kong. On the surface, its a documentary about classic arcade games and the people who love them. I mean really love them. At its core, its a sports movie not unlike any number of underdog stories that have come before it. It happens to be a very well told true story. Its effectiveness largely comes from how skillfully it frames our two principals. Wiebe is a down-on-his-luck guy with a passion and talent for Donkey Kong. Despite his faults, he's a likeable guy who becomes moreso as the film progresses. His longing to fulfill his quest in infectious, making us root for him. On the other hand, Billy Mitchell is our villain. Despite the fact he's obviously a hero to many people in the arcade gaming community, you will hate him. That part about him being a hero to many adds an interesting dynamic to things and seems to be the source of Wiebe's struggles to gain recognition. Even if you've never been a gamer, the story draws you in and tugs a bit at your heartstrings.

MY SCORE: 8/10

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