The King Who Would Be King: Arthur for the 21st Century

The Kid Who Would Be King serves up a family-friendly version of Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur with a twenty-first century twist, from director/writer Joe Cornish (Attack the Block, Adventures of Tin-Tin: Secret of the Unicorn, Ant-Man). With a splash of Sir Patrick Stewart, and the wickedly vengeful Rebecca Ferguson as Morgana, the film has enough style and substance to wrap new fans up in the chronicles of the Knights of the Round Table in a whole new way.

Bullied Alex Eliot (Louis Ashbourne Serkis, son of Andy) flees older students Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rihanna Dorris), with his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo), finds Excalibur, and ends up on a knightly quest under the advice of Merlin (Angus Imrie/Stewart). There’s some action about having to save the world (or at least England) from imminent destruction, adoption of the Chivalric Code, and … lessons about friendship and respect.

While it’s not remarkable that a film aimed at kids would encourage them to respect their parents and learn to take responsibility, there’s a surprising development that speaks to parents and kids alike: Alex finds that he has to work with his friends and his enemies if he wants to save the world. While more knowledgable literary fans will have already seen the clues in the names, the plot allows the audience to gradually see the development, an overcoming of great teenage odds. The story itself takes us there through the development, not just ram-rodding some long diatribe or discourse, but conveying it through the action of the actual story. Loving one’s enemies gets a dramatic revelation – and a powerful image to hold onto after the film wraps.

Special features here include “Origins of a King,” “Young Knights,” “Merlin’s Magic,” “Knight School,” “The Two Merlins,” and more.

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