The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)

The Kid Who Would Be King
Director: Joe Cornish
Writer: Joe Cornish
Cast: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Noma Dumezweni, Rebecca Ferguson, Mark Bonnar, Angus Imrie, Patrick Stewart
Seen on: 24.4.2019

When Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) steps in when his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) is being bullied, the two bullies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Dorris) don’t take too kindly to it. That night, they chase Alex on his way home, but Alex hides in a construction site where he finds a sword embedded in the stone. He pulls it out – and realizes that it is actually Excalibur. Along with Excalibut comes Merlin (Angus Imrie, Patrick Stewart) and a threat in the form of Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson). It is up to Alex and his friends to stop her.

I have rarely seen a film get a cinematic release that was talked about so little as The Kid Who Would Be King. And I honestly don’t get it. It is a cute family film, it has famous people and it is very entertaining. By rights, it should have been easy to advertise and easier still to be a success. So, take it from me and have fun with this one!

The film poster showing Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) in armor, with a big sword strapped to his back.

The Kid Who Would Be King isn’t perfect (but what film is?) and I did have a couple of issues with it (why is it that it’s only ever one girl in a group of boys in these films?). But overall it feels like a modern version of the kind of film The Goonies is (without being quite as great, though that may be my nostalgia talking). That is to say, an adventure film that sees no shame at being aimed at kids, but actually revels in it.

It has a great group of kids in the main roles, though Angus Imrie stood out in particular as young Merlin, nicely complemented by Patrick Stewart as the older, more seasoned version (it was generally a very nice take on Merlin himself). But the four central kids also worked together really well.

Merlin (Angus Imrie) holding his hands ovr a stone, surrounded by Kaye (Rhianna Dorris), Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis), Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) and Lance (Tom Taylor).

Since the film is about the Arthurian legend, I was fully expecting a lot of talk about royal bloodlines and what have you. But the film fortunately abstains from any kind of blood narrative, which was nice. It is still full-on pro-monarchy, though, just so we’re clear.

But most of all, it is an adventure for the kids in the film and for the audience. It is sweet and fun and exciting and exhilirating. It really should be a modern classic of children’s films already. I really enjoyed it.

Kaye (Rhianna Dorris), Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis), Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) and Lance (Tom Taylor) looking down at something on the floor.

Summarizing: absolutely lovely.

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