The Kid Who Would Be King review
You know what kind of movies I miss from the 80's and 90's? The stories in which the kids aren’t just put through danger, but intense danger. I'm talking about E.T., Goonies, Explorers, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Jumanji, and even Big, which got nominated at the academy awards. I can understand why parents and even critics would have problems with children facing too much danger. There's a certain responsibility about how much adults need to show that kids need to be protected. What they don't understand is that not only do kids like seeing themselves, often without adults, doing extraordinary things, but also that they can take a lot more then we realize.
It's important to make stories where children are just as likely to come out on top as heroes as the adults. That even seemed like a reoccurring trend with the teen audience with Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Twilight if you're desperate. But you may notice that the young adult demographic has not come back for similar franchises that have tried to continue the brand. This simply means that audiences want something different, but still reflect the ideology from past films and how they worked. This is probably why The Kid Who Would Be King will probably find an audience without a problem.
Young Alex Elliot (played by Louis Ashbourne) is your average boy in London going to primary school with his friend Bedders (played by Dean Chaumoo). What does make him different is that not only does he feel like the needs to be there for his mother, but is also willing to stand up to his bullies Lance (played by Tom Taylor) and Kaye (played by Rhianna Doris). One day when he escapes from those same bullies, he comes across a sword in stone and pulls it out. He and Bedders decide that it must be Excalibur.
The next day, they come across a young adult who claims to be Merlin (played by Angus Imrie) and says he'd been looking for the descendants of King Arthur and the knights of Camelot for a long time. He tells them that sorceress Morgana (played by Rebecca Ferguson) will unleash her army and magic onto the world in four days. Alex and Bedders, along with Lance and Kaye who end up apart of things, journey to a castle to find Alex's father along with coming to terms with their new Arthurian powers.
On the surface, The Kid Who Would Be King contains a lot of elements from family films of the 80's and 90's that I love. But it also contains story flaws that could cement it in. Don't get me wrong. I am overall recommending this as a fun movie. In fact, I'll start by saying Louis Ashbourne is a great little actor and had caught my intrest as he was dealing with the fact that not only is he of noble birth, but is also insecure about his relationships with his father, who he admired.
In fact, all the actors do a good job. I liked his friend. I liked the bullies who understand the pain of their actions. I liked young Merlin as both comic relief and dealing with the fact this King Authur is more reluctant then usual. And they all have their own arcs within the story's journey. It all goes back to good story, good charecters, and good writing. Writer/Director Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) understands that kids are likely to take anything as long as the story ends in a happy ending.
So if the movie has good characters and a good setup, what's wrong with it? At a running time of two hours, it feels a lot longer then it needs to be. What I mean is that at a point in which you think the movie is going to end, something else happens that makes it another twenty-five minutes longer. The rest isn’t bad, but it did feel sudden and even out of tone, given the slower pacing before. If the story had found a better way to continue, I would have been alright with it. But perhaps it either could have come into play sooner or had been saved for a sequel.
I'll give this four swords of Excalibur out of five. While it's not a great movie, I was surprised by how entertained I was and how close it was to recreating a feeling similar to family films of the 80s. This should serve as good entertainment for families, especially if they need a change of pace from a Marvel superhero movie or Goonies after the fifteenth viewing. Pull out the sword and journey to this film.