Friday, February 08, 2008

The King of Kong - A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

The King of Kong - A Fistful of Quarters. Film review. I'm quite certain that i could very much justified to say that in recent years where documentary films involved, they usually revolves around Iraq, and various kinds of misfits in society. Mostly, these films were fueled by anger, or dissatisfactions, and to actually see some documentary film that merely told us something instead of SHOVING the filmmaker's version of truth about something, is enlightening. The King of Kong did just that, and it is by far, the only documentary film of 2007 release that i really wish to see.

For a slight around eighty minutes running time, a first-time filmmaker, Seth Gordon could deliver a documentary that is equivalent to any feel-good film about sport, about an exhilarating feeling to struggle and be victorious, about one's relentless fight to win, sweat and tears, an ultimate underdog tale.

In 1980s, when a coin-op Arcade machine game is still around, there's an opinion that one of the hardest game, the one that eats up your coins (quarters) in an alerting manner, is a Donkey Kong. The plot of the game is a thin simple, a then still un-named Mario must climb up a series of moving platform, while avoiding various obstacles thrown by Donkey Kong to save a certain Princess (probably then still un-named Princess Toadstool). Even if these arcade machines were considerably short-lived, even until now, after twenty-odd years, these games still had their own closed community.

Billy Mitchell is a unique character, not necessarily likeable, and moreso for the reason to this film, but unique. He hold the world record for the highest-score in Donkey Kong for twenty-three-years. He clearly enjoyed it, excercising his celebrity quality even though really, nobody really cares about it. And then came Steve Weibe. An ordinary man, deemed by his relatives to had many qualities, wether in athlete or intelligence but never really won anything. He attempted to beat the Donkey Kong world record. His many efforts would often thwarted throughout the film by Billy Mitchell either directly or indirectly via a so-called Gaming Referee who decides wether the score was valid or not, which clearly was Billy's long extended arms.

It's easy to see whence the film's aligned its side. Steve Wiebe was described as a modest, likeable man. He had what it takes to beat Billy Mitchell's record and was rightly so. And the fact that Billy consistently refuses to acknowledge the new record, and refused to stage an open duel in a public made him a certain nemesis. Overall, the film is lighthearted and really fun to watch. However, it should be noted that the film didn't waste time to straightly went to the duel, that for those unfamiliar with the world of gaming may had little trouble catching up. But for me, a kid who grown up with Nintendo 16-Bit and a devoted RPG players, the decisions to exclude the background drop even made the experience more fun.

This film was merely a single chapter (or more rightly, several earlier chapters) between Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe in their quest to determine who was the best in Donkey Kong that even though the film ends in a high note, a simple research further into Wikipedia reveals that even now, Billy Mitchell vs Steve Wiebe had yet to meet its decisive end.

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