Main cast: Louis Ashbourne Serkis (Alexander Elliot), Dean Chaumoo (Bedders), Tom Taylor (Lance), Rhianna Doris (Kaye), Rebecca Ferguson (Morgana), Angus Imrie (Younger Merlin), Denise Gough (Mrs Elliot), and Patrick Stewart (Older Merlin)
Director: Joe Cornish
The Kid Who Would Be King cost $59 million to make, according to the usual online websites, and if that’s true, oh my goodness, I can only wonder where all the money went to. Surely the catering isn’t that expensive? Or perhaps Patrick Stewart and Rebecca Ferguson managed to negotiate ridiculously high salaries for themselves here? Nothing in this movie looks like it’s worth that much to make! In fact, this movie has a distinct whiff of made-for-Netflix stench to it. The people responsible for the movie were clearly optimistic when they released it at a time when there were several titanic titles still competing for eyeballs, so hey, this movie sank without a trace with actual losses of $50 million or so.
That sad outcome aside, this movie isn’t that bad. It’s not amazing either, as it plays out like every formulaic “Bullied kid unites all and becomes the champion of everyone!” kiddie flick that has already been done pretty often.
Alexander Elliot lives with his mother, as his father is AWOL from his life. He and his friend Bedders are bullied by Lance and Kaye, and it is during one of his altercations with them that Alex stumbles upon a sword and pulls it out and… oh yes, the sword is Excalibur. Merlin shows up and tells Alex and Bedders (whom Alex has playfully knighted without realizing that he has indeed made Bedders a real knight) that the evil Morgana has been awakened by Alex’s possession of the sword, and now she is going to task her demons to get that sword from Alex. You can bet that they won’t ask him politely for it, so now Alex and Bedders have to work with the bullies to save the day and even the world.
This one is exactly what it is on the can, and the story develops exactly like how one would imagine. There will be reluctant fellowships, our hero will have self-doubts, there will be a dramatic break-up of the team in a moment of crisis only for everyone to group hug and work together again for the penultimate fight… Of course Alex will meet on and resolve his daddy issues in the process, and everyone will cheer him on in the end, because this is what stories like this are supposed to be like, and nobody wants to deviate from the formula and make the fat kids in the audience feel bad about themselves.
On the bright side, the kids aren’t too terrible in their roles. On the whole, though, this one is a painless but oh-so-formulaic fare. Watching it is like eating oatmeal cereal. It’s okay, but it’s hardly the most appetizing or memorable thing. In fact, I’m far more intent on scrutinizing every scene and wondering where all the money went, rather than fully enjoying the movie. Seriously, they spent almost sixty million on this thing, and I just don’t get it.