A Kid in King Arthur's Court
|A Kid in King Arthur's Court|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Gottlieb|
|Produced by||Peter Abrams|
Robert L. Levy
|Written by||Michael Part|
Robert L. Levy
|Music by||J. A. C. Redford|
|Edited by||Anita Brandt-Burgoyne|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures (United States)|
Trimark Pictures (International)
|Box office||$13.4 million (domestic)|
A Kid in King Arthur's Court is a 1995 fantasy film directed by Michael Gottlieb and released by Walt Disney Pictures in association with Trimark Pictures and Tapestry Films. It is based on the Mark Twain 1889 novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (previously filmed by Disney as Unidentified Flying Oddball in 1978 in which Ron Moody also played Merlin), transplanted into the twentieth century.
Calvin Fuller is a nerdy young boy living in the Los Angeles suburb of Reseda who loves baseball, but is not a good player. The gangly, unsure youth is first seen at a game, standing at bat for his team, the Knights, ready for yet another strike out. Suddenly an earthquake hits; as the others run for safety, the ground opens up under Calvin's shoes and he falls through the chasm. He eventually lands on the head of a 6th-century black knight. Upon hearing of his miraculous appearance, the elderly King Arthur, seeing him as the savior whose appearance Merlin has predicted, dubs the boy Calvin of Reseda and invites him to dine with the court.
Calvin begins his knight training under Arthur's top knight, Sir Kane, to help the king retain his crown. When the earthquake hit, Calvin had just grabbed his knapsack, a fact that enables him to dazzle the people of Camelot with his futuristic "magic", including an introduction to rock and roll via CD player, and a Swiss Army knife. The young "wizard" also shows them how to make inline roller skates. His work wins him adulation and renown, but it also rouses the jealousy of Lord Belasco, who will use any means to take over the throne. Meanwhile, Calvin finds himself spending time and developing a crush on young Princess Katey, while her elder sister, Sarah, is secretly in love with Sir Kane. Belasco moves forward with his plans and kidnaps Katey and tries to frame Calvin for murder and tells Sarah that if she doesn't marry him, Katey will die. As Belasco is about to arrest Calvin, Sarah rescues him, tells him Katey is alive and to find her father and show him the proof. Calvin goes to Arthur and shows the proof of Belasco's scheme. Playing along, Arthur misdirects the knights and helps Calvin escape and they disguise themselves to go rescue Katey. Walking amongst the people, Calvin tells Arthur that Belasco has been stealing from them for years and they think Arthur doesn't care about them, and Arthur vows to be a better king. Calvin and Arthur find the castle Katey is being held captive; during the fight, Calvin renews Arthur's will to fight by giving him Excalibur (gifted to Calvin by Merlin). They release Katey, but Belasco' second-in-command, Richard, kidnaps her again and holds her hostage over the moat. Calvin uses a laser pointer from his CD player to blind Richard, causing him to fall and save Katey. Arthur knights Calvin as a Knight of the Round Table and arrive back in Camelot to stop Belasco from forcing Sarah into marriage. To take him down for good, they're going to have to face him in a tournament for Sarah's hand.
During the tournament, Calvin uses a variety of means to try to defeat Lord Belasco. Sir Kane defeats all the opponents and just him and Lord Belasco are in the finals. Belasco uses a magnifying crystal to use the sunlight to beam it into Kane's eyes and nearly knock him out. Calvin asks the King to stall Belasco. Belasco is close to declaring his victory if Kane doesn't return, but Kane does return and faces him another joust; Belasco knocks Kane's helmet off, but the now headless Kane still jousts and makes a comeback victory by knocking Belasco off his horse. But it isn't Kane, it is Calvin, who pokes his head out from the large armor. Belasco pulls Calvin off the horse and tries to kill him, but a Black Knight that Calvin had seen earlier appears and ambushes Lord Belasco, saving Calvin. Forfeiting his victory to the Black Knight, Calvin, Arthur, and Camelot is surprised to see the knight is Sarah herself; an astounded but happy Arthur rewards his daughter with the right to choose her own hand in marriage, and she proudly chooses Kane. Belasco is banished from Camelot forever. Now that he has helped Arthur keep the crown, Calvin has Merlin uphold his bargain show him his way home, and he sadly bids the king and Katey farewell. He is returned to the 20th century just before the moment when he struck out, and he steps up to the plate: this time, he is ready and hits a home run. He is greeted by his teammates – including a girl who looks like Katey – and is looked on by a spectator who looks like Arthur, who is whittling a piece of wood with a pocketknife – the same knife Calvin gave to King Arthur.
- Thomas Ian Nicholas as Calvin Fuller
- Joss Ackland as King Arthur
- Art Malik as Lord Belasco
- Paloma Baeza as Princess Katey
- Kate Winslet as Princess Sarah
- Daniel Craig as Master Kane
- David Tysallas Ratan
- Ron Moody as Merlin
- Barry Stanton as Blacksmith
- Michael Mehlnan as Shop owner
- Melanie Oettinger as Peasant woman
- Rebecca Denton as Washer woman
- Michael Kelly as Apprentice
- Louise Rosner as Lady-in-waiting
- Paul Rosner as Peasant boy
- Béla Unger as Head guard
- Shane Rimmer as Coach
- Tim Wickham as Ricky Baker
- Daniel Bennett as Howell
- Debora Weston as Mom
- Vincent Marzello as Dad
- Catherine Blake as Maya
- J. P. Guerin as Umpire
Most of the 6th-century portion of the film was shot in Budapest, Hungary, while the majority of the 20th-century portion was filmed in late September 1994, at the softball field of London Central High School (LCHS), an American institution at RAF Daws Hill, High Wycombe, England.
Upon its release, the movie was universally panned by critics. It currently holds a rating of 5% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 21 reviews, with an average rating of 3.46/10. The consensus reads: "Disappointing even by the relaxed standards of live-action children's entertainment, A Kid in King Arthur's Court stands as a rare near-total misfire from Disney." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Since its release, and since Kate Winslet and Daniel Craig went on to become major superstars in Hollywood, the film received slightly more attention. Despite the negative reviews, The Buffalo News replied "A must-see for the whole family!"
A sequel titled A Kid in Aladdin's Palace was released in 1998 as a direct to video with Nicholas reprising his role as Calvin Fuller.
- A Kid in King Arthur's Court at Box Office Mojo
- Letter from LCHS assistant principal Deborah R. Folmer to pupils' parents, Friday, September 23, 1994.
- Thomas, Kevin (1995-08-11). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'King Arthur' Jousts With Young at Heart". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
- James, Caryn (1995-08-11). "FILM REVIEW; Big Macs in Camelot (but First, Mickey)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
- "A Kid in King Arthur's Court". The Washington Post. 1995-08-11. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
- "A Kid in King Arthur's Court". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
- "Home - Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
- Puig, Claudia (1995-08-15). "Weekend Box Office : 'Brothers McMullen' Starts Off Hot". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
- Natale, Richard (1995-08-21). "Kombat' Captures Audience : Box office: Film based on a martial arts video game earns $23 million on its first weekend in release". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
- Welkos, Robert W. (1995-08-22). "Weekend Box Office : 'Mortal Kombat' Charges to First Place". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-02.