Which young kid hasn’t dreamed of being a knight in shining armor, slaying all the dragons, defeating evil and saving the damsel in distress? We’re sure we aren’t the only ones who fought with those carton board swords and helmets made from tinfoil. Well, thanks to writer and director Joe Cornish (“Attack the Block”, “The Adam and Joe Show”), we can relive that fantasy over and over again. With his “The Kid Who Would Be King”, he takes the historically old tale of King Arthur and gives a playful, funny and refreshing twist to it.
He might be the son of Andy but Louis Ashbourne Serkis is certainly making a name for himself. After starring in films such as “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “The Current War” and lending his voice to the cute and playful Bhoot in Netflix’s “The Jungle Book“, he’s now becoming King. Not the King of the jungle but the potential King of the world as Alexander “Alex” Elliot. Just having one friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) and being picked on by Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Dorris), the biggest bullies at school, not being popular is the least we can say about Alex. During another round of torment, he hides at deserted and isolated construction sight and stumbles upon Excalibur, the famous sword in the stone.
Not believing it at first, Alex re-reads the book his dad gave him about the legend of King Arthur and when a new kid named Mertin (yeah, sounds too familiar to be a coincidence right?), played by Angus Imrie, shows up at school, he just knows it. It’s his destiny to save the world from the evil sorceress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) and her plans to turn the world into an awfully dark one. But he can’t do it alone. Time to get friends and foes together to raise the much-needed army!
If you have been living under a rock for the last few centuries or you don’t know what the legend of Arthur and his round table is about, don’t worry. You won’t get his story once but twice in “The Kid Who Would Be King”. You might wonder why you get a briefly animated summary of the story that you’re about to see but when the movie is developing more and more, it becomes clear why. You might recognize a few of the social dilemmas from which we can learn something. Why fighting with the enemy when in times of great need, you should rely on them to fight the evil and the difficult times ahead.
What makes from “The Kid Who Would Be King” such a refreshing film are the young leading characters. While most of the adaption regarding the Arthurian story focus on adult leads, this one decided to give the story a more youthful and playful touch. The admirable friendship between Alex and Bedders comes to live by the wonderful chemistry between Serkis and Dean Chaumoo (who makes his film debut with this). Whether you were the one bullying or the one being bullied, Tom Taylor (“The Dark Tower“, “Doctor Foster”) and Rhianna Dorris (“Secret Life of Boys”; “Stage School”) will make you go through all those emotions again with their solid acting. Also, the silly jokes and references to modern pop culture are a plus.
Ok, it will probably be the younger audience that will love this film more but that doesn’t mean the grownups will find this dull or too childish. Because of the story with its hidden but adult themes, the innocent humour and the pleasant performances, “The Kid Who Would Be King” welcomes you with open arms.