The epic tale of the sword and stone meets the modern world in this family-friendly adventure, The Kid Who Would Be King, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Check out Ralph Potts’ Ultra HD Bu-ray review.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2019
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 120 minutes
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC/HDR10+
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Tom Taylor, Patrick Ferguson, Patrick Stewart
Written & Directed by: Joe Cornish
Music by: Electric Wave Bureau
Region Code: A

Release Date: April 16, 2019
"Evil Gets Schooled"

“Old-school magic meets the modern world when young Alex stumbles upon the mythical sword Excalibur. He soon unites his friends and enemies, and they become knights and join forces to save mankind from the wicked enchantress Morgana and her evil minions.” – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

My Take:

The epic tale of the sword and stone meets the modern world in this family-friendly adventure, The Kid Who Would Be King. Alex thinks he’s just another nobody, getting bullied at school and told what to do by his teachers, until he stumbles upon the mythical Sword in the Stone, Excalibur. Now, with the help of the legendary wizard Merlin, he must unite his friends and school yard enemies into an allied band of knights to defeat the wicked enchantress Morgana. With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be and save the world.

The Kid Who Would be King doesn’t necessarily break new ground but, writer/director Joe Cornish does his best to freshen up the subject matter with a light, family friendly adventure that is spun to a contemporary narrative. The storyline, like its young characters has an optimistic charm that bears fruit along its path. Yes, this film is aimed at a specific demographic and eschews the type of dark themed action and plot points that older audiences might be engaged by but, that doesn’t keep it from being spirited and just good old-fashioned fun.

I really enjoyed the performances by the five young principals in the cast, especially Alex Ashbourne Serkis (yep he is the son of actor Andy Serkis) and Angus Imrie, who plays young Merlin. Patrick Stewart and Rebecca Ferguson are sporadically present but, don’t have enough screen time to be a factor, which is fine as this one is really about the kids. The CGI gets a little hokey at time but, I found that to be part of the film’s charm. The Kid Who Would be King does exactly what it sets out to do, gives its audience an entertaining family adventure that is just plain likeable.

Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for fantasy action violence, scary images, thematic elements including bullying, and language.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Dolby Atmos Rating: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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The Kid Who Would be King comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD The Kid Who Would be King was rendered from 3.4K/2.8K sources and finished on a 2K DI. This is a fantasy-based film that is essentially colorful throughout, and this Ultra HD rendering makes the most of its elements. With a discernible increase in detail and emboldened chromatic highlights the image appears sharper and vibrant when compared to the 1080p version.

Primary colors are pleasingly rich while whites appear punchy and vibrant. The spectrum of secondary colors pop quite nicely as well. The first sequence that takes place at the school provides a glimpse of what is to come, but it’s the “training: scenes at the school later that offer the bonus that the presentation’s wide color gamut has to offer.

I also enjoyed the implementation of HDR. The added dimension in blacks, and shadows during the low-level scenes is immediately noticeable. Where called for the cinematography makes use of shadows, streaming light and a mix of light/dark elements. It’s application here is used very well, drawing upon HDR’s ability to create stark contrast between the two. The blend of shadow detail/depth of field offset by the presence of light at varying levels, looked very natural, and when applied, brilliant light caused me to blink/squint in reaction to it.

The film has a variety of sequences that make use of close up camera angles that show off the superb rendering of detail. The exterior sequences and CGI featured in the film have appreciable depth which has an enriching, and eye-catching aesthetic. The difference between viewing The Kid Who Would be King in high definition and Ultra HD isn't knight and day (did you catch that?) but, there is no question that it benefitted from the increase in resolution, emboldened color and high dynamic range treatment.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that makes steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics and discrete sound effects. This is done very well and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. The mix effectively places effects/sounds within the soundstage which place you within the scene, in turn, adding an enriching element that heightens the intended feeling like something is falling from above, moving through the room, or emanating from a specific location. While this is not what I would regard as an aggressive Atmos mix, it is an active one, that complimented the source material and made for an entertaining listening experience.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
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Audio: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
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  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

The Kid Who Would be King comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone based upon the mood of the scene. The chroma range is broad and hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are beautifully rendered with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen are exquisitely detailed and sharp with superb depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is spot on and blacks are deep with revealing delineation that provides excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a pristine quality that is free of video related artifacts.

The lossless DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack has solid dynamic range, detail rich clarity, and makes ample use of the entire surround platform to drive the film’s elements. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable. The low frequency effects channel is active as the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the palpably rich bass and dynamic impact associated with the action-based sequences. Dialog is firmly planted in the center channel and renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction. I enjoyed this audio presentation and thought that it complimented the source material.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: The Kid Who Would be King Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: The Kid Who Would be King Blu-ray
    • Deleted Scenes
    • Origins of a King
    • Young Knights
    • Hair, Makeup & Costume Tests
    • Merlin’s Magic (x4)
    • *Knight School
    • *The Two Merlins
    • *Meet Morgana
    • *Movie Magic
    • *“Be the King”, Lay Lay Music Video
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Written and directed by Joe Cornish The Kid Who Would be King puts a family friendly and entertaining contemporary spin on the age old sword/stone tale of King Arthur. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Combo Pack from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring excellent overall image and sound quality mated with a solid supplemental package. The Kid Who Would be King doesn’t have mass audience appeal but, should keep young viewers engaged even over multiple viewings, especially on Blu-ray. Feel free to start with a rental and take it from there.
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems