Plot: Calvin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) has just struck out once again, costing his Little League team an important game and making him wish he could by anywhere else but the baseball field. His wish is granted when a strange weather event strikes and Calvin finds himself transported to an unfamiliar land, not to mention an unfamiliar time, as the storm sent him back in time. Now he is in the age of King Arthur and given his odd appearance, he is scooped up and considered an outsider, perhaps even an ally of the infamous Black Knight. He manages to win the favor of Arthur (Joss Ackland), who has been getting some terrible advice from his officials, guidance that has isolated him from his own people. Soon Calvin discovers a plot to overthrow Arthur and seize his throne, but can a kid from the future somehow save the past?
Entertainment Value: This is some live action cheese from the Disney vault, a movie that isn’t bad, but not that good either, just a middle of the road, but nostalgic piece of family friendly entertainment. Thomas Ian Nicholas was fresh off the hit Rookie of the Year, so he proves to be a capable lead, but A Kid in King Arthur’s Court just never manages to rise above passable. The premise is fine for a family aimed picture and the production values are more than solid than expected, but I think it is too serious and would have been better served with an uptick of wackiness. The movie has a sense of humor of course, but it feels quite reserved and combined with the slow pace, the film struggles to build comic momentum. The side threads bog things down even more, with the multiple romances, Black Knight, struggle for power, and Arthur’s situation, all piled on top of Calvin’s wish to return home. There’s a lot going on and not much of it is all that interesting, but while it might not capture your imagination, the movie does remain watchable, regardless of the issues. So it might be uneven and not all that fun, but it has a certain charm at times.
A Kid in King Arthur’s Court has an eclectic cast involved, with child star Thomas Ian Nicholas in the lead role. As I mentioned before, he was fresh off Rookie of the Year and while his performance there was more memorable, he manages to be more than solid in his work here. I think the lack of wackiness holds him back, as he handles comedic material better than dramatic, but some of the charm remains, so younger viewers should appreciate his effort. Daniel Craig has an odd role here as a slow witted chap and while his performance is not good, it is a nice curio for fans of his later work, to see him in such a strange part. Kate Winslet is the stand out of the cast, in a charismatic and energetic performance. The presence of Craig and Winslet is likely to lure in some fans to check out this lower tier Disney movie, I’m sure. The cast also includes Joss Ackland, Ron Moody, and Art Malik.