[Movie Review] The Kid Who Would Be King – Wholesome and Entertaining, but Tanked at the Box Office?

The Kid Who Would Be King is a 2019 fantasy adventure film written and directed by Joe Cornish. A British-American venture, the film stars Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Tom Taylor, Rebecca Ferguson, and Patrick Stewart. The plot follows a young boy who finds King Arthur’s legendary sword Excalibur, and must then use it to stop an ancient enchantress from destroying the world. According to Wikipedia, the movie received mostly positive reviews from critics but was a box office bomb with estimated losses for the studio ranging as high as US$50 million.

Strange isn’t it?

Reviews are great but it seems like it’s going to tank badly at the box office. Undeserving in my view. This is a great movie to bring the kids to watch during the March school holiday. It teaches the universal values of true friendship, trust and respect for one another. There’s also diversity representations in the cast with a female knight, a fat knight and kids of different ethnicities in the school. A family movie can’t get any more wholesome than this!

I caught the preview screening in Singapore last week with my 8-year-old son, Asher and both of us thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I found it entertaining and suitable for the whole family. The mix of King Arthur’s story into a modern setting enables me to get my son interested to learn about medieval history and read up more about the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. In fact, we headed to the library the next day to get some books about King Arthur.

Even if you are not a fan or know nothing about the story of King Arthur, you will be able to enjoy it. The narrative is not heavy on historical details, but told in a fairytale way that is easy to absorb for kids and adults alike.

Although the cast is widely unknown and young, they put up solid performances and we particularly like Angus Imrie’s portrayal of young Merlin who was funny and yet authoritative at the same time. The other four young leads, Louis Serkis who plays Alex/King Arthur equivalent; Elliot Chaumoo, Tom Taylor and Rhianna Dorris who played knights; had good onscreen chemistry and represent a good combination of jocks and outcasts. The adults are largely token characters to guide the narrative along, but it was fun to see Patrick Steward (aka the Star Trek guy or Professor X) popped up as the aged form of Merlin.

Asher said he enjoyed the movie because he found the magic tricks amusing and he particularly enjoyed the scenes which featured Merlin. He also didn’t find the villains in the movie too scary and learned some good values on friendship.

“When true friends work together, you can overcome anything”, shared Asher when I asked him what was the one thing he learned from the movie.

Why wouldn’t you want your kids to watch and learn from a movie like this?

The movie largely tanked in the US and Canada markets, but the verdict is not out yet for its worldwide releases. Hopefully, it will do better in Singapore and other parts of the world.

The Kid Who Would Be King opens in Singapore cinemas from 21 March. If you are looking for a movie to catch with your little ones for the March holiday, this will be a great movie to catch for the whole family. 🙂

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