When deciding whether or not to watch a documentary, I always break the classic cliche, judging a book by it’s cover. Unfortunately, I tend to choose my documentaries based upon the title and my interest in what I believe the subject material is about. As you can imagine, this removes tons of well made and interesting documentaries from my “to see list”.
However, there is the occasional instance when I watch a documentary on a subject material that I didn’t think would interest me in the least, and behold, it becomes one of my favorite documentaries I’ve ever seen. The King of Kong is one of these documentaries that most definitely fits in this category.
The King of Kong is about an out of work husband, Steve, who decides to break the all time record score of the classic game Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong is one of the most popular video games of all time. It was introduced by Nintendo in 1981, and has generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue. The basic concept was huge gorilla kidnaps an italian plumber’s (first called jumpman than Mario) wife or girl friend. The plumber then tries to chase down this gorilla by avoiding barrels, climbing ladders and using hammers to destroy objects in his way.
The documentary starts as Steve breaks the record, or so he thought. When he submits the score, a couple of nerdy thugs crash his house, demand to see the machine and quickly decide that he cheated. Steve is then thrown into a world of nerds, and their lords. The top dog is a guy named Billy, and Billy is king. Billy does everything to get Steve thrown out of competition and to protect his very precious records. Steve continues to try to prove to the nerds that he is better than their god. But unfortunately the doc ends with a question mark as to whether Steve is the true champ or not.
This is what I thought the documentary was going to be, a story about a bunch of nerds who fight over a video game record (admittedly I’m a huge video game nerd, but not the early games). But as the story develops, it becomes much more of how people always fight the unknown and protect their own when an outsider tries to change their world. The story is most definitely something every one of us has dealt with, whether that be dealing with cliches in high school, or at work, this documentary eloquently shows how delicate a social structure can be, and how fierce people will protect the status quo.
This is my first review, and i will admit it is about 8 months late, but my goal is to try to put up at least one a week, to try to show you a few docs that you might of passed up. Thank you Lynch mob and Mr. Green (you really should stay out of the study if you insist on carrying around a wrench, just saying).
Have you seen The King of Kong? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.