The Dove Take:
This endearing round of the Round Table has good integrity, yet is rather hokey—and potentially scary.
A band of kids embark on an epic quest to thwart a medieval menace.
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+.