What happens when you mix together the old and the new? What happens when you mix myth and legend with real world modern reality? What happens if you tell an ordinary boy that he was a long-lost king?
The Kid Who Would Be King tells the story of Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis), a normal boy living in London who accidently stumbles across the legendary Excalibur. When he pulls the famous sword from the stone, he brings the world of the round table into the real world and must use Excalibur to defeat the enchantress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) and her deadly soldiers. He is guided by the wizard Merlin (Angus Imrie/Patrick Stewart), and aided by his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo). They have to unite with enemies to defeat the forces of evil that are appearing in their world, before it’s too late.
This original storyline makes for enjoyable viewing, a film that easily keeps your attention over its 120-minute run time. With many a reference to the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the round table, mixed with the comedy of a de-aging Merlin coming to terms with life in the modern world, this film is thoroughly entertaining and littered with many genuinely comical moments. A clever script creates this wonderful sense of comedy, and you can easily connect with the characters. For a film to be worth watching, you have to feel something for the characters, and they have to be believable, and that’s exactly what this film has. It also mixes the humour with the more touching plot line of Alex trying to find out the truth about the father he can barely remember.
Great moments of comedy come from Angus Imrie in the role of young Merlin. You would think that the limelight of the role would be stolen by Sir Patrick Stewart as Old Merlin but it is indeed Imrie who makes the biggest impact. From comical references to takeaway Chicken dinners to trying desperately to fit in at school with Alex, you can’t help but love this character with all of his quirks and eccentricities. Not to mention his intricate spell casting hand movements.
In terms of how the film looks, this feels like a good old-fashioned adventure movie. We are taken from London, across the wilds of the moors all the way to Tintagel and back again for an epic final battle scene. Great special effects allow for some wonderful action sequences featuring menacing skeletal soldiers, mythical animals and magically reappearing swords. You can’t help but feel a little bit swept away with it all.
This is truly a film where the children are in charge. They are the heroes, facing danger with no adults there to help them. Where else would you see school children coming together to defeat an evil enchantress? I think that this is a film that families would enjoy watching together, it’s easy, it’s adventurous, it’s funny and it’s all together very enjoyable.