The Kid Who Would be King Movie Review
Retelling the tale of King Arthur is as common as giant turkey legs at a Renaissance Faire. But in the movie “The Kid Who Would Be King” the ‘Once and Future King’ is a little on the young side. The Sword Excalibur is meant only for the hands of the King. But when a young kid pulls out the sword in a modern-day England – that schoolboy’s life gets turned around. Good thing he has help of an ancient and mighty sorcerer named Merlin. However, he is also portrayed as another young boy, just more eccentric. There is an evil presence from King Arthur’s day ready to return and destroy all of England, so the new Kid King has his work cut out for him.
Alex Elloit (Louis Serkis) is getting a rough time at school in a small town outside of London. He and his best pal Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) get picked on everyday. Two older kids named Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Doris) are very cruel to Alex and Bedders. One night, while hiding from the two, Alex ducks into a construction site. He finds an unusual site – there is a sword in a stone. He’s is able to remove and take it home. Little does he know that an evil sorceress named Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) has been imprisoned and knows the sword is active. She is the half-sister of King Arthur and she is held by a powerful spell from the Ancient Merlin (Patrick Stewart). She vows to escape and lead her undead evil minions to destroy the Kingdom.
Alex learns that a young version of Merlin (Angus Imrie) has come back to assist him. Merlin seems to be just an oddball at school, but he shows Alex, Bedders, Lance and Kaye some very powerful magic. In four days, during a solar eclipse, Morgana plans to rise from the prison of darkness and overtake the world. Alex does not know how to be a leader. Bedders is basically scared of everything. Lance is bully who puts himself first, and Kaye is not interested in helping other people. But with a lot of effort, this ragtag group travels across the country to seek out the truth, a Quest for the future of England.
Alex and his crew finally get to the place where Morgana is entrapped. They think they have defeated her, but there is another – and a much larger – battle to come. The solar eclipse releases Morgana and some terrible forces from the Earth. But Alex and gotten his entire school ready to fight. There is a huge CGI battle-fest, with undead minions on black horses and Morgana returned as a female bat-dragon type of thing. It is only because of the ‘Earth in darkness but not in night’ that allows Alex to have so many people join his crusade against evil. It is non-descript battle, seeing that it is to prevent the downfall of all humanity…
There are a handful of clever and creative ideas in this movie. But mostly it is a just a rehash of better movies on the same subject. Even Disney’s animated “The Sword and the Stone” covered much of this same ground. The bright spots are Angus Imrie playing Merlin, and when he gets swapped out occasionally for the older and wiser version – played by Patrick Stewart. Most of the child actors are pretty fun to watch, and they get the point across. The movie moves at an odd pace, with some sections dragged out for a quest going here and there in the English countryside. The internal logic of the movie is fuzzy, and there is one major scientific error that I cannot dismiss. There is supposed to be a solar eclipse in a few days, and right before that – the kids are out at night under a full moon. Ask your science teacher why that is wrong…
Joe Cornish has another movie under his belt where he wrote and directed (“Attack the Block”). That movie also starred mostly young kids, and he did a fantastic job with that one. He also wrote (or co-wrote) some great movies, “Adventures of Tin-Tin”, “Baby Driver”, and “Ant Man”. But he seems to have taken a few days of during this movie. “The Kid Who Would Be King” could be a very engaging movie, with a lot going for it. But the final results with this movie, it does not rise to the Throne. Cornish has pulled and pulled, but this time the sword stayed in the stone…
The Kid Who Would be King Review
The Kid Who Would be King Summary
Written and Directed by: Joe Cornish
Starring: Louis Serkis, Tom Taylor, Rebecca Ferguson, Patrick Stewart, Angus Imrie
Length: 120 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG for fantasy action violence, scary images, thematic elements including some bullying, and language
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy