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The Kid Who Would Be King

Opening Date
21 Mar 2019
PG Some violence
120 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Adventure, Fantasy
Joe Cornish
Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Angus Imrie, Patrick Stewart, Rebecca Ferguson
Old school magic meets the modern world in the epic adventure THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING. Alex (Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he's just another nobody, until he stumbles upon the mythical Sword in the Stone, Excalibur. Now, he must unite his friends and enemies into a band of knights and, together with the legendary wizard Merlin (Stewart), take on the wicked enchantress Morgana (Ferguson). With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be.
By Yun-Huei  19 Mar 2019
While it isn’t a top-tier film by any measure, The Kid Who Would Be King is a fun and likable movie that makes for decent family viewing.
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While it’s clear that the film is set in modern times (given the usage of smartphones and so on), there’s a very retro quality to The Kid Who Would Be King, calling to mind Spielberg’s 80s films like ET: The Extra-Terrestrial and Goonies. While it isn’t exactly on the same level as these films (and a less assured piece of filmmaking compared to Joe Cornish’s debut film Attack the Block), it’s impossible to actively dislike the movie either, though viewers in a lower age bracket are likely to find The Kid Who Would Be King a more entertaining romp than adults. 

Joe Cornish has been actively working in Hollywood as a screenwriter, and it’s his ear for authentic “kiddy speak” and impeccable comedic timing that makes the film more engaging than it should be. Truth be told, the film is probably running at least 30 minutes too long, with multiple instances where the narrative flags, but overall there’s just enough going on for the movie not to lose too much goodwill from the audience. The child actors are all rather earnest and endearing though none truly stand out, and both Rebecca Ferguson and Patrick Stewart don’t add much to the mix either, other than adding a couple of well-known faces to the cast. 

The movie follows a very standard fantasy adventure narrative structure, and while the action sequences are passable, the CG imagery does seem a little on the lower end (despite a substantial budget, it seems).  At least it fares better on the comedic end, and apart from frequent witty zingers, features one of the best punchlines regarding fried chicken restaurants that I have ever seen onscreen. While The Kid Who Would Be King is a safe choice for families with younger children, older audiences are likely to find less to take away from the film. 
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