The Kid Who Would Be King is a fun and exciting addition to the King Arthur Legend that has more going for it than the previews display.
When I was first assigned to review this movie, I did what I always do when I consider watching a movie: I first watched the trailer for it. During the preview I found myself saying, “this is going to be really cheesy.” Regardless of what I then thought, I went into the theater with good faith and was pleasantly surprised that the film I watched was not quite what the preview had led on.
The film is fun, imaginative, and more heart-felt than what I thought it could be. Writer/Director Joe Cornish did a wonderful job at presenting a modern continuation to the tale of king Arthur and the knights of the round table. Set in modern day England, the story follows 12-year-old Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis). When Alex stumbles upon King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, he is able to remove the sword from the stone, awakening the evil sorceress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson), setting him on an adventure to save the world. Under the guidance and protection of Merlin the wizard (Angus Imrie and Sir Patrick Stewart), Alex, his friends, and even his enemies unite in an attempt to stop the sorceress and her undead army.
The film bolsters admirable character development from the leads and the main supporting cast. A commendable mention is reserved for 2 characters: the first is Alex’s closest friend, Bedders (Dean Chaumoo), who provides both comic relief and a loyal support for Alex throughout their adventure. The second stand-out performance goes to Angus Imrie’s young Merlin. Although Merlin’s character is relatively flat, besides the transitioning between his younger and older self, Angus Imrie does a wonderful job of balancing the playful humor and serious mystique expected of a wizard character.
One of the few knocks at the movie is that some members of the supporting cast, especially that of Angus Imrie, overshadow Louis Ashbourne Serkis’s performance. Serkis’ performance does not greatly distract from the story, but the young actor has some room for improvement.
The well-executed special effects are increasingly flaunted throughout the sequences of confrontation and displays of magic. The film is also complimented by a score of music that is reminiscent of the 1980s film, appropriate for the “Goonies-like” adventure. The film also comments about the current divided state of the world and the power of young people’s ability to better their circumstances. It conveys a strong message of youth empowerment and collaboration towards positive change. For a kid’s movie, the film is deeper than it has any right to be.
Overall the acting, writing, and directing are well done and establish a film that can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages despite targeting a younger demographic.
Rating – 7.5/10
The Kid Who Would Be King hits theatres on January 18, 2018!