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the kid who would be king

DIRECTOR: Joe Cornish (attack the block)
STARRING: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, angus imrie, rebecca ferguson, and patrick stewart


REVIEWER: lyall carter


Old-school magic meets the modern world when young Alex stumbles upon the mythical sword Excalibur. He soon joins forces with a band of knights and the legendary wizard Merlin when the wicked enchantress Morgana threatens the future of mankind.

When I was growing up it seemed like there were so many live action family films. Home Alone, Free Willy, George of the Jungle, The Little Rascals to mention a few - all films that were a backdrop to a 90's kids childhood. Now, outside of Disney remakes and the Paddington films I can't remember the last time a live action kids film was released. So when they come along you get a wonderful whiff of nostalgia and off you go. 

Alex is a normal kid with quite normal problems. He doesn't quite get his homework done on time and his best friend Bedders gets bullied a lot. While on the run from the bullies, Alex stumbles upon a building yard and finds a sword in a stone. Drawing it from the stone unleashes Morgana, the evil enchantress from the Arthurian legend, who is determined to get the sword and wipe out all of humanity in the process.

The Kid Who Would Be King has got everything you want in a kids film: it will entertain both kids and adults alike, its got a few laughs and a few scares, and a much needed message underneath it all.

Alex is the kinda kid anyone could relate to. School isn't really that exciting, he gets bullied quite a bit, and doesn't really know who he is or where he fits. Unfortunately in the hands of Louis Armstrong Serkis (yes, he's the son of Andy Serkis of Gollum fame) he comes across as perhaps needing a little more charisma to be at the helm of such a film. 

The acting standout has to be Angus Imrie who plays the young Merlin (Merlin also appears as a bedraggled owl and Patrick Stewart plays the senior Merlin in a handful of scenes). He brings a bonkers energy that oozes charisma which is very much needed to help the film steer clear of bland territory. Rebecca Fergusson, like Patrick Stewart, only appears a handful of times and is menacingly creepy as Morgana. 

The story unfurls at a good pace and it never feels long or drawn out. The end sequence where Morgana and her hordes attack Alex's school is inventive with cars with benches strapped to them used as battering rams and gym horses used as wrecking balls.


I took along Zoe (9) and Asher (7), our niece and nephew, who would be doing this review if they hadn't gone off camping. They loved Merlin who they thought was hilarious and throughly enjoyed themselves although Asher thought it was a little scary in some parts. 

A great little family film that has all the ingredients needed to entertain both kids and adults. 


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