The Kid Who Would Be King draws gentle adventure from the stone

CNET | 2/5/2019 | Richard Trenholm
Kaliela101 (Posted by) Level 3
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They don't make 'em like this anymore. In a world of hyperactive Avengers and Lego movies, The Kid Who Would Be King seems like a throwback to a simpler time.

This earnest children's adventure -- written and directed by Joe Cornish, who also co-wrote Steven Spielberg's Adventures of Tintin -- is a gentle update of the King Arthur myth. It follows a bullied British schoolkid who pulls a sword from a stone and sets off with schoolmates on a quest to save humanity. Along the way they learn a few lessons, obviously.

Kid - Who - Begins - Storybook - Attic

The Kid Who Would Be King begins with a storybook in an attic, which is fitting since it feels like a film that could have been made at any time since the 1960s. Even on first viewing, it feels like you've watched it on every national holiday since you were 5. Patrick Stewart plays Merlin, but it's a role that could have been played by any distinguished (aka elderly) English actor.

Patrick Stewart appears briefly as Merlin.

Film - Feel - Timing - Release - Kid

The film's vaguely timeless feel is ironic given the awkward timing of its release. The Kid Who Would Be King opens in the shadow of The Lego Movie 2, with the final How to Train Your Dragon movie, The Hidden World, swooping in fast. Strangely, Kid opened in the US before its natural home in the UK, where it might have built some sympathetic word of mouth. As it is, the US box office has been lackluster.

I saw The Lego Movie 2 and The Kid Who Would Be King in the same weekend, and it was an instructive experience. The Lego sequel is a hyper-kinetic, CG-animated meta-narrative with catchy songs for the kids and irony-drenched pop culture references for the grown-ups. It's noisy, brash, over-stimulating and ultra-modern.

Kid - Who - King - Contrast

The Kid Who Would Be King, by contrast, is...
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