The Kid Who Would Be King is able to get the legend of King Arthur back on track following a disastrous showing on the big screen in 2017.
Alexander Elliott (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) is the typical student attending Dungate Academy. He hangs out with his best friend, Bedders (Dean Chaumoo), and defends him from school bullies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Dorris). Lance is king around this joint and he’s not changing for anyone. Things get rough one night and Alex finds himself running to safety. Next thing you know, he finds himself pulling the Sword in the Stone. This is no ordinary sword but the legendary Excalibur. Unbeknownst to Alex, Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) is waiting for him in the underworld.
Enter Merlin, who pretty much owns the film when it comes to comical relief. It needs to be said that the magic in this film isn’t what we’re used to seeing in the many fantasy films over the years. Merlin has a lot more energy when he’s taking on a teenage form (Angus Imrie) as opposed to his real self (Patrick Stewart). It also helps when he has the three ingredients needed to be reinvigorated. He surely has his work cut out once he finds Alex. Oh, does he ever!
This film runs more along the lines of Avalon High than Legend of the Sword with the contemporary high school setting. There are some differences between the two of them. One of which is that this film doesn’t run with Alex being a reincarnation of King Arthur. There’s also a different villain but when you tell so many different King Arthur stories, it can get repetitive. Regardless, this film plays true to Arthurian legend by using settings such as Tintagel and Cornwall.
What writer-director Joe Cornish does with his screenplay is play up the chivalric code of King Arthur and the roundtable. Only by honoring all four rules of the code can Morgana be defeated again. But even following all these rules are easier said than done. These rules are as follows.
- Honor the people you love
- Refrain from offense
- Always tell the truth
This film’s version of King Arthur is none other than young actor Louis Ashbourne Serkis. Let me just say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The younger Serkis certainly shows promising potential as the once and future king.
Writer-director Joe Cornish manages to successfully tell an engaging story. It does come with a few cracks at other franchises where a kid grew up without knowing his father. While the film does indeed run over two hours, the film’s brisk pace would make you believe otherwise. By the time that the film ends, one can’t help but thing as to whether it’s it for this bunch or is another adventure on the way.
The Kid Who Would Be King is a fun and adventurous film that is truly worthy of King Arthur.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Joe Cornish
CAST: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Angus Imrie, with Rebecca Ferguson and Patrick Stewart