The Kid Who Would Be King is Fun, Adventurous

L-R: Rhianna Dorris, Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Angus Imrie, Dean Chaumoo, and Tom Taylor star in Twentieth Century Fox's THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING. Photo Credit: Kerry Brown.

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!

Patrick Stewart and Louis Ashbourne Serkis in The Kid Who Would Be King.
Patrick Stewart and Louis Ashbourne Serkis in Twentieth Century Fox’s THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING. Photo Credit: Kerry Brown.

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.

  1. Honor the people you love
  2. Persevere
  3. Refrain from offense
  4. 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.

CAST:  Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Angus Imrie, with Rebecca Ferguson and Patrick Stewart

20th Century Fox opens The Kid Who Would Be King in theaters on January 25, 2019. Grade 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.