The Kid Who Would Be King, rated PG
The Kid Who Would Be King is a heartwarming fantasy film that parents can enjoy with children, ages eight and above. There are some scenes that would be too frightening for younger children. This enjoyable film includes adventure, comedy and a good cast. The film is written and directed by Joe Cornish (Ant-Man). He indicated that the film’s title is a playful reference to the title of the 1975 film The Man Who Would Be King.
The film begins with an overview of the story of King Arthur, who used the magical sword Excalibur to lead England during a time of war. He was a good king, but his half-sister Morgana turned to dark sorcery in hopes of stealing the sword and Arthur’s throne. Arthur defeated her, but she threatened to return one day.
The film then takes us to modern day London with its many problems in the culture. We meet twelve-year old Alexander, played by Louis Ashbourne Serkis (son of actor Andy Serkis and actress Lorraine Ashbourne), who lives with his mother, played by Denise Gough. Alex has never met his father, who abandoned them when Alex was very young, but his mom tells him nothing but good things about his father. Alexander’s best friend is the loyal and likeable Bedders, played by Dean Chaumoo. Because he sticks up for Bedders, Alexander is constantly bullied at school by sixteen-year old Lance, played by Tom Taylor and Kaye, played by Rhianna Dorris, but he never tells Mrs. Lee, the school principal, played by Noma Dumezweni, or his mother, about the bullying.
As he runs from the bullies one day, Alexander enters a construction site. It is there he finds a sword stuck in concrete. Amazingly, he is able to pull the sword out of the concrete. Alexander and Bedders find writing on the sword, indicating that is King Arthur’s Excalibur. They don’t believe that to be true because they believe it is a story of fiction, but that evening a demon tries to kill Alex, who is then saved by Merlin, played by Angus Imrie. Merlin, is an ancient wizard who has taken on the appearance of a teenage boy, and he brings humor and magic to the film. Three-time Golden Globe nominee Patrick Stewart (Moby Dick, The Lion in Winter, Blunt Talk), plays the adult Merlin.
Merlin tells Alex that he has been chosen to save England as their king from the evil sorceress Morgana, played by Golden Globe nominee Rebecca Ferguson (The White Queen, Mission: Impossible – Fallout), who has been waiting centuries to take over England and make all of her citizens eternal slaves. Alex has only four days to choose a few knights to destroy Morgana and her army of undead knights. Will this twelve-year-old boy and his knights be able to destroy the evil Morgana and save England from becoming her eternal slaves?
Content concerns include some action violence, some minor language, the use of magic, and creatures that could be scary for young children. Themes include bullying, that anyone can be a king, chivalry, loyalty, friendship, courage and battling evil with good.
I really enjoyed this film. Louis Ashbourne Serkis is excellent as Alexander and the supporting cast all play their roles well. Stewart’s and Ferguson’s roles are relatively minor. The music by Electric Wave Bureau added to my enjoyment of the film.
The Kid Who Would Be King is an enjoyable and well-made fantasy film that families can enjoy.