The Kid Who Would Be King – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

January 15, 2019 by Roz Tarszisz
Read on for article

As a child, I loved T.H. White’s The Once and Future King even though I was confused by the concept of Merlin the Wizard travelling backwards through time and getting younger as he went forward.

This new outing, which intersperses both a young and old Merlin, makes it simple by combining old-time myths and modern film techniques.

It’s a story well pitched at its young audience but it is still a rollicking good yarn and I was as enthralled as my young Plus1.

Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis), 12 years old, thinks he is a nobody. He and his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) are being bullied at high school by a couple of older students Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kay (Rhinna Dorris).

Fleeing his tormentors, Alex stumbles across a large medieval-looking sword stuck fast in a stone but he is easily able to wrestle it out.  Thus, King Arthur’s legendary sword Excalibur is resurrected along with the King’s evil half-sister Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) and her underworld army of ghostly, burning riders on horseback.

When the lively, young Merlin (Angus Imrie) shows up he warns Alex that removing the sword has awoken the long asleep Morgana who believes the sword to be hers.  She intends using the upcoming total eclipse to take over a world where its leaders are inept and to keep the world in darkness. A bit like real life.

Young Merlin, who has some very nifty moves, guides the band – Alex, Bedders, Lance and Kay  – and shows them the skills needed in the upcoming battle.  It’s a race against time to save mankind and a struggle to get the plucky knights to believe in themselves – and each other. In his older incarnation, Merlin is well played by Patrick Stewart.

Performances are all good with Imrie a joy and Serkis holding it all together. Ferguson is terrifying as the evil witch and the special effects are great.

Mixed in with the mad rush to save England are the lessons that a kid should tell the truth, be loyal to their friends and love their mothers. When I asked my Plus1 what, if anything, he learned he replied “Kids Rule, Parents Suck” but maybe he was just being cheeky.

3.5/5  120 mins Rated PG Released January 17 Action/Fantasy

Starring Patrick Stewart, Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Taylor, Louis Ashbourne Serkis

Directed and written by Joe Cornish


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