Movie Review: The Kid Who Would Be King-an uneven Hero’s Journey

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There was a brief period in the mid 2000’s where a movie like Joe Cornish’s The Kid Who Would Be King came out nearly every other week.

These small inoffensive coming of age fantasy films (clearly made to ape the success of The Harry Potter movies) are about a kid who realizes they are part of an unknown world. They would then set off on a grand adventure.

The Kid Who Would Be King feels like a movie that should have been released a decade ago. It hurts the film. It can’t really offer any surprises and is doubly hurt by playing on the all too familiar Arthurian myth).

Yet despite these flaws, director Joe Cornish instills just enough charm and wit to make the The Kid Who Would Be King worth a watch.

20th Century Fox

Photo: 20th Century Fox

The story follows 12-year-old Alex Elliot (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) the supposed ancestor to King Arthur. Alex is prophesied to find the long-lost sword Excalibur and thwart the return of Arthur’s ancient half-sister Morgana (played with genuine menace by Rebecca Ferguson).

However, before that happens Alex is simply a young kid being raised by a single mother, being bullied by classmates, and hanging out with his soft-spoken magic obsessed friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo).

To the movie’s credit, it quickly gets into the meat of the story. Consequently, the best part is the adventure. The scene stealing Merlin (played excellently by Angus Imrie as a young man and Sir Patrick Stewart in his older form) marks the movie’s beginning. He speaks with this hilarious Arthurian grandioseness that matches well with the kids complete bewilderment with their situation.

Merlin, as ridiculous mentor figure, is just one of the few dynamic touches Cornish adds. Funny banter lines, great action set-pieces, and an understanding of how kids act add to the film . These 12 year olds have smartphones and are down-right giddy at the prospect of dawning amour and fighting monsters with swords. The movie uses the kids’ energy to great effect. You genuinely want to join them on this crazy adventure.

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough of these moments to make The Kid Who Would Be King stand out. The movie is so predictable that even its intended audience will see everything coming from a mile a way.

Within the movie is a great message about recognizing those who love you and cherishing them. However, it just feels so incongruous that the message ends up feeling tacked on.

Even with its flaws, The Kid Who Would Become King is a very fun and enjoyable family film.

The Kid Who Would Be King: 2 out of 4 Stars

  • PG, 120min, Fantasy
  • Directed by: Joe Cornish
  • Starring: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Patrick Stewart, Rebecca Ferguson
  • Now playing at Cineplex Winston Churchill, Cineplex Oakville & VIP, and Film.ca

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