OUR grandchildren thoroughly enjoyed “The Kid Who Would Be King” and we liked it, too, as it’s a well-made fantasy-action-adventure flick for the whole family. The title roler is Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis, son of Andy Serkis who played Gollum), a boy who is bullied in school, along with his best friend, Bedders (Dean Chaumoo).
When the bullies chase them, Alex hides in a forsaken construction site. There, he finds a sword stuck into a concrete block and he’s able to pull it out easily, just like King Arthur in the tale of the Camelot and the Knights at the Round Table, of which, this new movie is a modern retelling. Alex knows the story of King Arthur because of a book left to him by his father who left him and his mom (Denise Gough).
After he gets the sword, a strange teenage boy called Merton arrives in their school, Dungate Academy, to warn him about the dangers that might happen because of the sword. Merton is actually the wizard Merlin, the adviser of King Arthur, played as a boy by Angust Imrie and as an old man, by Patrick Stewart. He performs magic with his flashy hand movements and he can also transform himself into an owl.
Merlin says an evil sorceress, Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson), is brought to life to chase Alex and get the sword from him so she can rule the world. The movie is written and directed by Joe Cornish, who makes sure his contemporary interpretation of the familiar Arthurian legend comes out truly enjoyable.
Alex as the new Arthur has to knight his friend as Sir Bedders, and also the buillies, Kaye (Rhianna Doris) and Lance (Tom Taylor.) And they even have their own round table. They fight Morgana’s army of evil knights in flames, with their horses also burning as they chase the kids in the streets or in mountains and meadows.
Alex and his friends will have to become many personal struggles as they fight Morgana. Alex will also learn the sad truth about his missing dad and see his mom and her own sacrifices in a new light. The cast, like most other movies these days, are multi-racial. Alex and Lance are Caucasians. Bedders is Asian and Kaye is African-American. At one point, you’d think the film has already ended, but it turns out there is a much bigger climactic finale involving the entire school and its students in fighting Morgana’s evil knights from hell. All in all, this is a wholesome and exciting family film that will introduce a new generation of young viewers to the legend of King Arthur, Excalibur and the Knights of the Round Table. The acting of everyone is fairly good, especially Imrie with his off-the-wall performance, and the production is well above average. The CGI special effects in that sequence where Alex and friends fight gnarled trees that come to life and in the final battle with Morgana and her henchmen are particularly well-executed.