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Joe Cornish’s long-awaited and largely delightful follow-up to “Attack the Block” is a unicorn of a children’s fantasy movie: It’s imaginative, it’s heartfelt, and it never feels like it’s trying to sell you anything more than a measure of hope for the future. Cornish may bite off a bit more than he can chew by trying to reinvent Arthurian legend as an epic, ultra-contemporary adventure for the kids of Brexit-era Britain, but the guy hasn’t been able to direct anything in more than eight years, so it’s hard to fault him for an excess of pent-up ambition (especially not when the least effective parts of his movie involve a crazed Patrick Stewart running around in a Led Zeppelin t-shirt).
“The Kid Who Would Be King” may not be the equal of its influences, but even its awkward second act is sprinkled with a palpable degree of practical magic; even its thinly sketched young heroes are performed with rare charm. And while these backhanded compliments might read like the work of a critic hedging his bets, Cornish’s film is ultimately redeemed by its modesty — by its conviction that saving the world doesn’t (or can’t) require you to solve all of its problems.
Kid - Who - Time - Odds - Years
That “The Kid Who Would Be King” is so unapologetically of its time should only increase the odds that it will still be watched and remembered some 30 years from now; it feels new enough now to feel old soon enough, and the movie already seems like fertile ground for some kind of future nostalgia. After an animated prologue covers the basics of King Arthur (with a noted emphasis on how the Round Table was designed to make everyone feel equal), Cornish spirits us back to contemporary London, where the kingdom is no longer as united as may once have...
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