Writer/director Joe Cornish wrote “Ant Man,: a superior superhero comedy, so I wanted to see “The Kid Who Would Be King.”
Cornish snagged Patrick Stewart (captain Jean-Luc Picard of “Star Trek” fame) to portray the adult Merlin. He also got Rebecca Ferguson to play the evil enchantress Morgana. Both roles have short screen times.
“The Kid Who Would Be King” makes only the second time out as a director for Cornish. He did just fine, letting the actors act and the special effects people do their thing.
The evil minions of the evil Morgana are flaming resurrected dead knights of yesteryear who are referred to as “unread,” which in my book makes them zombies.
We do get the treat of seeing dozens and dozens of them, all aflame, riding into an English middle school named Dungate. 9-year-olds will have fun splitting the school name between the g and the a for clear pronunciation.
Louis Ashbourne Serkis plays the lead kid, the one who can take the sword from the stone. He and his side kick Bedders is played by first time big screen actor Dean Chaumoo.
These two lads give exactly the kind of wonderful innocence that makes the story work. They have the earnest all in attitude that only those who have not had the life and magic pounded out of them can allow.
Serkis has a scene where the hero fights an animation bad thing. It very much reminded me of the scene in “The Hobbit” where Bilbo struggles with Gollum. Louis Serkis’ dad Andy Serkis played Gollum.
The school serves as a castle for the children in the climatic battle. The kids devise all sorts of clever ways to dispatch the unread knights.
Angus Imrie has the role of young Merlin, a guise Merlin uses to infiltrate Dungate school. He has the most energetic and imaginative spell casting I have seen on screen.
This PG-13 rated not-just-for-kids film runs for two hours, exactly. This three sawblade film can be enjoyed by the youngsters. We have no smooching at all and the violence, while constant, never becomes frightening.
Fun facts: Rebecca Ferguson played the famous 19th century Swedish song bird Jenny Lind in “The Greatest Showman.” The real Jenny Lind played for the miners in Tombstone, Ariz. Patrick Stewart last played in a King Arthur movie in the 1981 film “Excalibur.”