The King Arthur legend is one of the oldest in our history. The timeless story of a kid from nothing who discovers that he’s destined to rule as a king against those who wish to take the throne from him. It’s one of those stories that all kids learn at some point in their lives. Even today, elements of the tale can be found in newer stories that we tell today. Now, the legend has been updated in the new family adventure film, The Kid Who Would Be King.
Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he just another nobody; an ordinary kid who deals with school, bullies, and a single mom like many other kids. However, everything changes when he discovers, and pulls, the legendary sword Excalibur from a construction site. At first, he thinks it’s just a prank, but then a teenager (Angus Imrie) shows up and turns out to be the wizard Merlin (also Patrick Stewart). With the help of his nerdy friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) and two bullies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Doris), Alex will embark on a quest to stop the evil sorceress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) from taking over the world.
Family movies these days are quite a tough thing to swallow. It’s hard to watch kids find entertainment in movies that rely on Internet meme references and scored by whatever pop or rap songs people are currently obsessing over. That’s what made films like last year’s Peter Rabbit and The Grinch weren’t so great. That’s why The Kid Who Would Be King wasn’t just a pleasant surprise. It’s a family movie with it’s own sense of humor.
This film doesn’t waste its time trying to make us laugh by referencing current social media trends. This was a major breath of fresh air, because for once, the humor works on its own merit. Sure, it references things like Google Translate, Uber, and Mario Kart, but those are kid-friendly ones, unlike things like twerking, selfies, and whatever challenge FaceBook users are attempting now.
The film also graces out ears with its own heroic musical score. These days, family movies, especially ones made by Sony, are scored by whatever the latest trending pop or rap song kids are obsessing over. This film has its own original music that fits the action and adventure elements perfectly. There isn’t a popular song in sight in this film, and it doesn’t need them. It just needs something to fit the mood.
Surprisingly, the kids were great. For child actors, they really held the film together. Louis, who is Andy Serkis’ son, does a great job playing Alex, and his best friend was one of the best comic relief characters in a long time. The one to really blew me away was Imrie, whose portrayal of a teenage Merlin was truly the highlight performance. He was the funniest part of the whole film because of his infectious charisma.
Not only is this film great for kids, but it isn’t exclusively tailored to them. There’s enough funny material and action to keep the parents entertained as well. That’s one thing the film does best. Not very many family movies bother to find ways to entertain the parents as well as the kids. This one has enough fun action and likable characters that will have the adults rooting for them as much as the kids.
The Kid Who Would Be King was something unexpected. Not only was it a pleasant surprise, but it was actually a great movie. With no references to social media or rap songs scoring the adventure, all that’s left is a big hearted family adventure that down an amazing job updating the King Arthur legend for the modern age. Family members of all ages will find something to love about this throughly enjoyable fantasy film.