DIRECTOR: JOE CORNISH
LEAD CAST: LOUIS ASHBORN SERKIS, DEAN CHOUMOO, REBECCA FERGUSON,
PATRICK STEWART, TOM TAYLOR, RHIANNA DORIS, ANGUS IMRIE; SCREENWRITER: JOE CORNISH; PRODUCER: NIRA PARK, TIM BEVAN, ERIC FELLINER; EDITOR: JONATHAN AMOS, PAUL MACHLISS; MUSICAL DIRECTOR: ELECTRIC WAVE BUREAU; GENRE: FANTASY ADVENTURE; CINEMATOGRAPHER: BILL POPE; DISTRIBUTOR: 20TH CENTURY FOX; LOCATION: UNITED KINGDOM; RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes
Technical assessment: 3
Moral assessment: 4
CINEMA rating: V13
Twelve-year-old Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) and his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) are picked on everyday by school bullies. One day as the two boys are pursued in an abandoned building, they fall over an open space and land near a rock where an ancient-looking sword is… well, planted. They can’t believe the sword is what it seems, but it is—King Arthur’s legendary sword, the Excalibur. And so Alex draws the sword out of the stone, thereby unleashing Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson), the evil sorceress of the Arthurian era, who now wants to destroy the world. But Merlin (Patrick Stewart) soon enters the picture in the new-kid-in-school form, and the plot thickens.
Opening the film is a colorful animation of something that happened “Once upon a time”—about a king called Arthur, who united his kingdom with his Knights of the Round Table and whose famous sword, Excalibur, was caught in a vast rock. The sword could be drawn out solely by an authentic descendant of Arthur. Who would have thought that the celebrated sword would wind up in 21st Century US of A? That the underdogs in The Kid Who Would be King would turn out to be the chosen ones in this sword-centered contemporary adventure fantasy clearly says this movie is made for boys their age. And maybe subteen girls who wish to find superhero boyfriends.
The appreciation of The Kid Who Would Be King depends on the maturity of one watching it. The story has more layers than an onion and is heavy with symbolism. To the very young it is obviously a good-vs-evil thing and we know very well which should win. But to the more experienced, the battle is not simply between Team A and Team B. The message is that one triumphs over evil when one succeeds in battling the dark forces within oneself, the demons of fear, self-doubt, insecurity. When one remains in sin—in darkness, not in light—evil inevitably wins. (Morgana waits for darkness to strike). However young people may view it, the film is empowering in that it gives hope—lest we throw in a spoiler, just watch what happens to the bullies.—TRT