Review #531 of 365
Movie Review of The King of Kong (2007) [PG-13] 79 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $11.50
Where Viewed: Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen: 19 September 2007
Time: 4:45 pm
DVD Release Date: 29 January (click date to purchase or pre-order)
Film's Official Website • Film's Trailer
Directed by: Seth Gordon (The Problem with Percival)
Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Walter Day (Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade) • Billy Mitchell (Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade) • Todd Rogers (Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade) • Steve Sanders (Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade) • Doris Self (debut) • Steve Wiebe (debut)
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"…a well-edited, surprisingly engaging documentary."
Opening up his life to the cameras, Steve Wiebe exposes a very real side of himself and his family. Unfortunately for the overall value of the film, way too much time is spent on this aspect of what is a relatively ordinary family life. His wife puts up with way too much and excuses way too much of his Peter Pan Syndrome. Steve's passion for Donkey Kong (he has an arcade machine in his garage) is unyielding sometimes to the exclusion of paying any attention to his family. Still, as has been a theme in recent films like The Astronaut Farmer, families often take a back seat to helping the patriarch fulfill his life's dream. The film is decidedly one-sided in its approach to the story giving every impression that Steve Wiebe is a really good guy. Which he seems to be. Billy Mitchell, however, comes across like a snobby, arrogant, wannabe who cannot see that his day and twenty minutes of fame passed 20 years ago. The film implies that Billy Mitchell doesn’t practice what he preaches, may have sent in an altered tape to prevent Steve's second record from lasting very long, and that he's always deviously working behind the scenes on something. He comes across, also, in the film as spineless as he won't face Steve head to head in a real tournament to determine the true Donkey Kong champ and his groupies (or are they henchmen) do everything they can to undermine Steve while at the tournament by putting extra pressure on him, excluding him from events, and treating him like he's got the plague for even trying to break one of the establishment's hero's records.
In the end, The King of Kong is a well-edited, surprisingly engaging documentary. While not as compelling as the power documentaries of Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Moore, it has its fair share of human-fueled drama, enough to sustain the attention and imagination of most for its 70-minute running time.
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Other Projects Featuring The King of Kong (2007)
Walter Day • Billy Mitchell • Todd Rogers
Steve Sanders • Doris Self • Steve Wiebe