Review: The Kid Who Would Be King

PLOT: A young man discovers he may be an heir to King Arthur when he finds the magical sword Excalibur. However, with the power of the sword comes the return of Morgana – Arthur’s wicked sister – who is looking to bring terror down on a modern world.

REVIEW: The story of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table is one for the ages. It has been explored numerous times in all forms of entertainment. And with the latest take of the classic tale, THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING gives audiences a family friendly, modern day version of the one person who is able to pull the sword from the stone. With a similar feel to the early HARRY POTTER films, the Joe Cornish (ATTACK THE BLOCK) feature borrows from the legend in a fanciful, and occasionally suspenseful way. This modern adventure presents us with the tale of a young boy who may be the key to stopping the medieval nightmares that King Arthur’s envious sister Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) brings to a modern world. Is this PG flick filled with magic and wonder? Or is it simply a lame trick to present this story to young ones? Perhaps it is a bit of both.

Louis Ashbourne Serkis is Alex, a young man who struggles with bullying at school, and the heartbreak of a father he never knew. After he comes to the rescue of his best mate Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) from schoolyard jerks, Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Dorris), he ends up being chased by the two into a construction zone where he discovers a large sword stuck in a rock. And yes, you guessed it, he is able to pull it out without the slightest hint of any real struggle. Soon, an eccentrically odd new student reveals himself to Alex as Merlin (Angus Imrie) and he has a dire warning. In four days during an eclipse, King Arthur’s evil sister Morgana will rise to wreck havoc. It is now up to Alex, Bedders, and his sworn enemies Lance and Kaye to help save the day.

the kid who would be king patrick stewart joe cornish louis ashbourne serkis denise gough dean chaumoo tom taylor rhianna dorris rebecca ferguson king arthur excalibur 2019 fantasy joblo.comJoe Cornish has a knack for presenting fresh talent in creative sci-fi/fantasy stories. As he did with ATTACK THE BLOCK, he gives us a core group of actors who are quite charismatic. The four young leads, Serkis, Dorris, Taylor and Chaumoo work beautifully together, even if we start off pretty bloody annoyed by Taylor’s Lance. The film works well enough simply because this talented group offers up interesting and unlikely heroes who must face a scary world. And then there is Angus Imrie. The quirky actor brings a ton of humor to his take on Young Merlin, and it helps make the character stand out thanks to the odd way he creates magic with his hands, and his wide-eyed and comical take on the character. And as a treat, when Merlin magically retreats to his “older” self, you have the beauty of Patrick Stewart and Imrie creating yet another engaging take on the iconic wizard.

As far as the effects are concerned, this KID manages to create a few creepy images with an army of demonic henchmen who attack Alex and friends as night falls. The fire and brimstone beasts rise from the ground on horseback, looking to reclaim the sword for Morgana. Once she is able to take the sword Excalibur, she has the power to destroy a world that so easily buried her deep within the earth. The first couple of times these frightening figures attacked, it was actually quite impressive. However, the more you see them, it becomes a bit tedious as they appear to be pretty terrible at actually doing what they are ordered to do. Of course this is a family film, so you can’t expect the bad guys to be all that successful at their evil deeds. That said, their appearance and the chase sequences became a bit redundant at times. And when the gang does finally battle Morgana face to face, the CG gets a bit dodgy as she changes form into a flying dragon-like creature.

the kid who would be king patrick stewart joe cornish louis ashbourne serkis denise gough dean chaumoo tom taylor rhianna dorris rebecca ferguson king arthur excalibur 2019 fantasyAnother issue is that this fantasy lasts just a bit too long. While it may only be two hours, the journey to save the world is slightly repetitive. As mentioned, the chase sequences blend together and lose their potency after awhile. As well, the side story of Alex searching for his father doesn’t have the emotional impact it could have. When it comes to casting the main villain, Rebecca Ferguson was a brilliant choice. Unfortunately she really doesn’t have much to do. When the showdown between her and Alex finally occurs, it is not as satisfying as one would hope. The abundance of effects and the lack of development for the ruthless and scorned woman waiting for her revenge, leave something to be desired for the final battle. However, younger audiences are likely to enjoy the spectacle of a young army fighting off the evil Morgana and her creepy, but inept cronies.

THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING is an enjoyable children’s fantasy. It has a ton of magic, and a terrific cast – if only the lovely and talented Ferguson had more to do. By bringing a modern take to a PG family film, it may be a good way to introduce children to the classic stories of King Arthur, and that is certainly a good thing. Cornish is terrific at bringing audiences a charming cast embroiled in a fantastical adventure. As far as the age range of who will truly appreciate this story, that is difficult to decipher. It may be too scary for some, but others will find it a bit dull if they are used to seeing your average PG-13 blockbuster. However, if you have already introduced them to HARRY POTTER and the like, they should enjoy this entertainingly sweet attempt to bring the magic of Excalibur to the big screen.

Review: The Kid Who Would Be King




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