Maria McQuillan, Arts & Entertainments Co-Editor.
The Kid Who Would Be King is an interesting children’s movie. It’s a nice reimagining of the King Arthur myth, and tackles some surprisingly tough emotional storylines for what I imagined to be a fluff children’s move. The film takes us around several locations in Britain, and the cinematography in the film really shows off some of the most stunning settings in a fantastic way. It’s a quirky film, enjoyable in its rather orthodox adventure quest storyline.
The cast are by and large great in the movie. There are only two (really) recognisable faces in the movie: Patrick Stewart who plays the Older Merlin, and Rebecca Ferguson as Morgana. There are two other familiar faces, but not in the way you expect: our main character, Alexander is played by Louis Ashbourne Serkis and Young Merlin is played by Angus Imrie. Sound vaguely familiar? Serkis is none other than the son of Andy Serkis, and Angus Imrie is Celia Imrie’s son. Before nepotism can be cried out, I must admit they were two of the best parts of the film, Imrie in particular. His kooky, zany, too old for his body Merlin, is hilarious. I unashamedly laughed the whole way through his introduction in the film, and he has many of the best lines and scenes in the film. He performs his role with serious aplomb. I thought it would be disappointing to have Patrick Stewart split his screen time with another actor for the role, but I enjoyed Angus Imrie in the younger role. I can’t wait to see what he does next. Louis Ashbourne Serkis is also one of the stronger performers in the film. He was entirely believable as our unlikely hero, and it’s an excellent first film role for him. I was not a huge fan of the rest of the younger cast, but I gradually warmed to them through the film.
The Kid Who Would be King is a charming (if a little predictable) children’s film that really makes use of the dramatic landscapes in some of Britain’s most mythical locations. What I actually took away from the film was the desire to go visit these locations myself, Glastonbury tor in particular. It’s got a great cast, and a good plot for a British film that doesn’t solely rely on London for its location. What’s great about the film is how it surprises the audience as there were some genuinely interesting and inventive action scenes in the film that I really enjoyed. It also has some interesting speeches from its characters – particularly in today’s political climate – which feel like a very deliberate move on the part of the filmmakers. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did, but I don’t imagine I’ll be racing to watch it again any time soon.
Director: Joe Cornish
Starring: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Tom Taylor, Rebecca Ferguson, and Patrick Stewart
Run-time: 120 minutes