The Kid Who Would Be King – Film Review
Director: Joe Cornish
Writer: Joe Cornish
Stars: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, Dean Chaumoo
King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table is a legend that has endured and thrived in England. In this reincarnation the unlikely centre of the action initially takes place in the suburbs of London. The Kid of the title is twelve-year-old Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis), who is running away from a pair of bullies when on an abandoned building site he is confronted by King Arthur’s sword Excalibur embedded in a block of concrete. He manages to extricate it and Merlin (Angus Imrie), who is dressed in a duffel coat, tells him that Alex’s mission is to defeat the evil Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) and her wicked band of supporters. Fired up and in the unlikely heroic background of school yards and bedrooms Alex and his great buddy Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) take up the challenge.
The action moves out of London, delightfully by public transport, to various locations in the South of England, including Stonehenge, the vertical stones of which make a striking contrast with the mundane architecture of semi-detached houses and a school called Dunsgate of no particular architectural merit in which Alex and Bedders exist. The need for a round table for their deliberations is charmingly solved by the use of a modern rectangular table which is suitably well designed. They have many battles and adventures with Morgana and her mob which includes terrifying flaming mounted horses and creepy trees which manage to move with a menacing gait.
This is the work of writer/ director Joe Cornish, who previously brought us Attack the Block (2012) and the Adam and Joe show. While Attack the Block was aimed at adults, this is for a much younger audicne and released just on mid-term!
It is quintessentially English in tone but its innocence and nostalgia to a time, not all that long ago, where imagination was not impeded by the now ubiquitous mobile phone, makes the film endearing. There is a quiet sense of satisfaction on leaving the cinema of having eaten something sweet and delicious, reminiscent of a childhood treat.