The King of Kong

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“The King of Kong is a documentary on two amid retro gamers both competing against the Guinness World Book  record for most points on the world famous Donkey Kong video arcade game.” – (2007) directed by Seth Gordon

The subject matter of this documentary is ‘gaming’ which talks about gaming now to retro gaming and follows the existing world champion (Billy Mitchell) to a newcomer (Steve Weibe). The duration of the documentary lasts for 1hr 19 minutes. The show us their story by going there home and following them around on their competitions, the documentary took a total of 300 hours to make. We see that Billy Michell is determined to keep his high score title, but we are shown more of Steve Weibe during the documentary and watching him train for the big moment, showing us his family life.

We are railroaded in to thinking that Billy Mitchell is the BAD guy and Steve Weibe is the GOOD guy. The show this to us by playing Steve Weibe piano music for his sequences and using music such as for Billy Michell which gives us the element that he is the bad guy.

They used licensed tracks such as ‘The Best’ by Joe Esposito and ‘Eye of The Tiger’ by Survivor to represent victory and championship. The use other non-licensed audio such as Steve Wiebe’s piano music which he does in his spare time. They used frequent Foley of noises from arcade games, including a bit of Foley from steve’s own piano music playing wise he’s playing his arcade games. The archive footage at the start uses ‘funny’ like music by ‘   ‘ when showing both Billy Mitchell making out as the superior one of arcade gaming

The editors of the documentary used archive footage to start the documentary off with pictures of young arcade championship players for the states of Billy Mitchell and Steven Sander. Through the first part of the documentary, it shows interviews from  Steven Sanders who is now a businessman and shown in his clip of him in an office & board room after his arcade life. Steve is shown as the family man with his kids and wife and a school teacher, but the strain it has on his family as he is so focused on becoming the Guinness World Champion. Billy is shown behind working as a boss in a restaurant as we see if near the fryers and in an office, he is more focused on keeping his title and staying the boss.

The cinematography used a range of shots. They used an MS with three point lighting for Steven Sanders scene at the start showing how the business looks like with books and him wearing a suit, whereas Billy Mitchell was set up behind a kitchen, wearing a red blouse and an American tie and then switches to a messy office. They used fades over certain clips, they also used a lot of close- up, medium shots which were very shaky and some were not well lit – the background was also at times distracting which made it hard to focus.

They used graphics such as spreadsheet chart showing the Donkey Kong ranking of Billy Mitchell high score, at the end they also feature a chart where it shows the newest high score from August 3rd, 2006  made by Steve Weibe as during the end we were lead to believe that he didn’t get the high score but that he’d keep trying playing in his garage . They also use arrow lines when Steve is explaining the technique to use to pass each level of donkey con.

I overall think it is an interesting documentary, but very poorly filmed and sequenced as I felt that it only focused on one subject more than the other at times. It was also very shaky at points when handheld.

 

Touching The Void

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“Touching The Void is a documentary on two adventurous alpine style mountain climbers, telling their story played over a re-enactment  of their events of survival within the mountains.” – directed by Kevin McDonald (2003) a sports/drama.

The main focus of the story is Jo, as we get a bit more into the documentary we see Simon who has to choose between dying with his partner or letting his partner go. Jo is however very much alive after the fall, but it’s a matter of survival for Jo trying to get back to down the mountain on his own without his partner.

The editors of the documentary made sure that there was continuity within the documentary by switching between the real life survivors to the re-enactment of them telling the story. Through switching of the telling the story, we see the emotion from the real life survivors as they begin to tell the story.

They used light white Arial font text over ES of the mountains to establish the days of the story. The cinematography used a range of shots mainly point of view shots and wide scale shots to bring an element of suspense, showing use how high they are both on the mountain, it also showed how small they were, and how big the mountain was.  They used a range of low angle shots and high angle shots, one being near the start where he is chipping away at the ice the camera is positioned at a high angle. Then we get a low angle shot which is positioned showing his full body climbing the mountain, there various elements of this throughout the documentary. Near the end of the documentary, when Jo is trying to get out from the ice to the land surface we see a POV shot of him looking down below him. There are various close-ups and extreme close-ups throughout the re-enactment of the documentary showing the emotions of both climbers.

The interview shots were nicely scaled to fit in MS showing their head and shoulders using one camera angle. They used 3 point lighting in the interviews, with a curtain background. Each was different, one had a golden type backdrop  from Simon and the other is blue for Jo,

The audio used varied from dialogue voice-over of the climbers telling their side to switch between the actors doing the re-enactment talking to each other. They used a lot of Foley for the sound of the ice, snow, sound of dripping water, blizzard wind, chipping at rock/ice. One song within the documentary is copyrighted during the end ‘The Mirror’ by