by Rob DiCristino
Writer/director Joe Cornish’s long-awaited follow-up to 2011’s Attack the Block is The Kid Who Would Be King, a family-friendly spin on Arthurian legend starring Louis Ashbourne Serkis (son of Andy) as Alexander, a school-age nobody who discovers the ancient sword Excalibur at a local construction site. Though Alex feels a kinship with the fabled king and his knights thanks to some family drama we’ll get into later, he doesn’t believe the sword to be the genuine weapon of legend until he’s attacked by ghostly demon hordes and a young Merlin (played by the excellently rubber-faced Angus Imrie) arrives to offer his guidance to the Once and Future King. It seems that the evil sorceress Morgana (an underused Rebecca Ferguson), who has coveted Excalibur for centuries, will soon rise to destroy the new king and the world he inhabits. Though she and her monsters can only appear at night, an upcoming lunar eclipse will allow her to cross over into the real world, putting all of Britain in jeopardy.
An American Tail, and Jumanji (1995) as it does with King Arthur. It’s got all the wiz-bang of your Moanas and Despicable Mes, but it’s old fashioned. It’s handmade. It doesn’t need to fill every goddamned frame with CGI noise or populate the cast with idiosyncratic sidekick characters who will make for lucrative ancillary toy sales later on. In fact, its tiny cast could use with a bit more definition, at times, and a stronger lean on the political or interpersonal elements may have helped pull things into clearer focus.