The Kid Who Would Be King

Theatrical Release: January 25, 2019
The Kid Who Would Be King


The Dove Take:

This endearing round of the Round Table has good integrity, yet is rather hokey—and potentially scary.

Dove Review

The Synopsis

A band of kids embark on an epic quest to thwart a medieval menace.

The Review

I don’t know if the board meetings for The Kid Who Would Be King happened around a round table, but the resulting quest, though filled with some positive aspects, is a chivalrous mishmashed rehash: a goodhearted knight in patchwork armor on an old horse.

As a movie, the pieces don’t always align well. The villains are scary and spooky and may be too much for littler kids. Some of the humor and action are hokey, so older audiences may either lose interest or roll their eyes and laugh. And there’s a subplot about the lead character’s absent father that potentially loses narrative power in the context of medieval silliness.

In the midst of the medley, however, there are many good aspects. The message of integrity is positive, celebrated, and emphasized, and the narrative of the bullies growing from being selfish to being heroes is nice. A significant highlight is Angus Imrie’s performance as Young Merlin. The charisma and energy he provides the character is so strong that it might alone be worth the price of admission. When he leaves a scene, he takes it with him.

The Kid Who Would Be King has some cautionary content. There are magic, scary villains, some inappropriate language, distant rear nudity and more. Its attention to integrity is encouraging, and for viewers who are prepared for the content and some of the scarier aspects, The Kid Who Would Be King is Dove-Approved for Ages 12+.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: Good integrity is an emphasis; some characters, including bullies, change positively; “chivalric code.”
Sex: None
Language: OMG-4; D-1; H-; godforsaken”; “Thank God-2”; a character says “Thank You, God” on his knees; “What the flip”; name-calling, including “Percy jockstrap”; other mild language
Violence: Fighting, including with medieval and improvised weaponry; scraped face; a dragon monster’s head is chopped off; monster skeletons are chopped apart in fights; kids at a school are trained how to fight the villains and set traps.
Drugs: Discussion of how a character’s dad drank and was angry, which contributed to the dad no longer being around.
Nudity: Merlin arrives naked and is seen from behind at a distance. Later, he has more coverage by wearing an oversized Led Zeppelin t-shirt (which itself has a scantily clad character on it) before wearing more clothes; the villainess appears to be sprouting from roots with formfitting vines, and later as a dragon with humanlike form.
Other: Magic, including “dark sorcery” and “real magic”; villains are scary, including burning skeleton medieval soldiers and spooky voices; a character is told to have had “his demons”; talk of “magical demons”; some tensions between kids and parents, but it has some redeeming progressions; a mother lies to her son; kids sneak around and disobey parents; bullies; kids drive cars to hit villains; magic is utilized to cheat at a game; mild crude jokes.


Company: Big Talk Productions
Writer: Joe Cornish
Director: Joe Cornish
Genre: Adventure
Runtime: 132 min.
Reviewer: John P.