Kid Who Would Be King, The

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Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 10 (Mild fantasy themes and violence).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Kid Who Would Be King, The
  • a review of Kid Who Would Be King, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 January 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to scary fantasy themes, violence, and length of film.
Children 8 - 10 Parental guidance recommended due to fantasy violence.
Children over the age of 10 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Kid Who Would Be King, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy themes and violence, some scenes may scare young children.
Length: 120 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

When 12-year-old Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) unsuspectingly finds King Arthur’s sword in a construction site, his life is quickly turned upside down.  Suddenly he must fend off undead ‘zombie’ beings that break into his bedroom; unite both friends and enemies alike; work out how to defeat the growing evil underground…all without his mum finding out.  With the help of his round table of knights, Bedders (Dean Chaumoo), Lance (Tom Taylor), and Kaye (Rhianna Dorris), and the changeable and extremely oddball  Merlin (Angus Imrie and Patrick Stewart), Alex must form an army and defeat Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) before she brings about the end of the world. 


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Absent father; alcohol dependence; bullying; children at risk; magic.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • An animated sequence of an Arthurian battle scene, involving sword on sword combat (blood is shown).
  • Two bullies (older and ‘cooler’ kids) pick on Bedders and Alex (smaller and ‘uncool’ kids) on several occasions. The two smaller boys are pushed over, held upside down, and receive grazes in a scuffle with the bullies.
  • Alex tackles one of the bullies to protect Bedders. This is portrayed as courageous and deserved.
  • Alex stabs a sword through the antagonist’s chest and later beheads her while she is in dragon-form.
  • School children engage in sword-based combat with undead zombie skeletons. No child appears to be harmed by these fights.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Morgana is imprisoned by roots and vines in ‘hell’. She pulls herself free, but many roots are still attached to her body/skin. This is a scary image for young children.
  • Morgana transforms into a frightening and grotesque dragon-human hybrid that breaths fire and tries to kill Merlin and the children.
  • When Merlin sneezes, he transforms into an owl. This is unlikely to disturb most children but parents should be aware that some children may find the transformation scary.
  • Morgana’s soldiers are undead zombie skeletons that are on fire (and sometimes riding undead horses). These are monstrous, physically frightening, and attack the children frequently. They are likely to distress children up to the age of 10, but may be particularly frightening for children under 5.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • The four children are trapped by evil tree roots, which attempt to drag them underground. The children are in obvious distress and terror.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Merlin is held by the throat by Morgana, and nearly dies. He is revived at the last moment.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Nothing of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Smart phones (including iPhone)
  • LEGO
  • Mario Kart

Sexual references

  • There are no sexual references of concern in this movie.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Merlin walks into a grocery store naked. He is seen from the back with his buttocks obscured.

Use of substances

  • There is no substance use of any concern in this movie.

Coarse language

  • There is no coarse language of concern in this movie.

In a nutshell

The Kid Who Would Be King is a well-made, modern retelling of the Arthurian legend from director Joe Cornish.  While the central performances are strong and the visual effects are exciting, the story tends to drag in the middle half hour.  This film is likely to entertain children under 15, but parental guidance is recommended for children under 10.  Children under 8 may find some scenes distressing due to the fantasy themes, scary imagery and violence.    

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Responsibility.
  • Courage.
  • Friendship.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • Skipping school.
  • Running away (not letting a parent or guardian know where you are).
  • Trying to drive a car based on experience playing Mario Kart.
  • Bullying – Both physical and social. For example, Alex discourages Bedders from speaking to Merlin because he thinks he is even less ‘cool’ than them.