The Kid Who Would Be King Movie Review
Original, live-action kids’ movies seem to be few and far between these days, so in a refreshing turn, Joe Cornish (2011’s Attack the Block) made The Kid Who Would Be King, about a modern day kid named Alex who pulls a sword out of a stone and discovers that he is King Arthur resurrected. In exchange for Cornish giving audiences something new… no one went and saw it.
Yes, The Kid Who Would Be King bombed in theaters because why go see something new when sequels, reboots, and superhero movies abound.
It’s a shame, because The Kid Who Would Be King is pretty decent—and if I were a kid, especially a young boy, I would probably love it. The movie is a moderately entertaining adventure film, a strong retelling of the King Arthur tale—only where the king is a nerdy teen who must turn his school into a fortified castle and his dubious classmates into knights.
Cornish, who also wrote the movie, treats the material with respect—as silly as the central premise is, he avoids the silly, stupid shenanigans that mar many kids’ movies, driving them to the lowest common denominator to appeal to the dumbest of children. The King Who Would Be King goes the noble route, introducing a couple of honest and earnest kids and a serious plot that might be silly, but never stupid.
Cornish doesn’t always strike the right balance. At nearly two hours in length, the movie feels long for a kid’s flick. Cornish is a bit too patient with his storytelling, a respectable move but one that stretches your attention span at times—had he shot for a film half an hour shorter, The King Who Would Be King would have benefited in many ways.
The various adventure and action scenes also begin to feel a bit repetitive; had Cornish mixed up the monsters a bit more—it seems the only creatures King Alex battles are dead horse riders—and introduced some zanier elements, the movie would have leapt from the screen in a more vibrant way.
Still, The King Who Would Be King is a well-made, earnest, and generally fun adventure movie. It doesn’t deserve a royal welcome, but it deserves to be welcomed by more than the five people who saw it in theaters.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.