Bluntly, The Kid Who Would Be King was wholesome. It was also dreadfully boring.
The Kid Who Would Be King Synopsis
12-year-old Alex Elliot struggles with living without his father, and being mercilessly bullied in school. One night, while hiding from school bullies Lance and Kaye, he discovers a medieval sword and successfully removes the weapon from the stone it is embedded in. To Alex’s great surprise, he then learns that the sword is none other than Excalibur of Arthurian fame, and by retrieving it, he has inherited Arthur’s position as the once and future king. On the flip side, he becomes the new hit target of Arthur’s arch enemy, the sorceress Morgana le Fay. To defeat Morgana, Alex not only needs to live up to every aspect of the chivalry code of knights, he must also devise a way to unite all his teenage school enemies.
Yeah. In a nutshell, this latest reinterpretation of Arthurian valour bored me silly. I was dying for the movie to end.
Nope, it wasn’t because I was watching a kids’ movie as an adult. The genre could be equally entertaining for grown-ups if handled smartly.
Neither was it because of the rather flat performances of the young leads. To be fair, they weren’t that bad and anyway, I know better than to expert award-winning performances from developing talents.
Nor was it the highly sanitised story. Or the unsurprising plot. Or the creative liberties taken with classic Arthurian characters.
I guess the only way I can put it is, the movie just doesn’t live up to the apocalypse it paints. It tells of a world-ending threat, brought on by societies that have ripped itself apart. Yet, other than the talk of it, you don’t feel any menace. At no point do you also sense any real danger for young Alex or his allies. Morgana and her minions were terribly, appallingly fragile.
And perhaps I’m over-imagining things, but the attempt to reference the current British crisis, as in that, felt too vague and unrefined. I’m in support of children and young adults learning about the realities of social divides. But if you want to do it, please, at least be concrete.
Go beyond just highlighting the divides and explain why these tragedies happen. Otherwise, don’t do it at all. When everything is this sterile and simplified, it’s not a lesson that’d stick. In terms of cinematic entertainment, it also provides for nothing more than staid, dry, and totally forgettable characters.