At the end of December 2021, a touching fiction where the cubs and wolves are at the heart of the action is released in theaters. With “King”, it is a lion cub that young people try to save. Unfortunately, it works less well because the human being is too much at the heart of the story.
Inès is 12 years old and her brother Alex 15. They feel really bad about themselves and are not really appreciated by their classmates and colleagues. When an active search was announced by the French authorities following the disappearance of a lion cub at Orly airport, Inès did not think she was directly concerned. Because a few nights after this declaration, the lion cub will take refuge in his… room. Feeling helpless, she decided to help him and bring him back to his native country: Africa. Helped by Alex, despite their misunderstanding, their goal and to see their grandfather who has traveled a lot around the world. They are certain that he will want to help them. But Max is not that whimsical and the 2 teenagers could find themselves alone for the dangerous crossing. However, after joining their adventure, everything becomes possible… Even for a grandpa who has more than one trick up his sleeves.
At the realization of this family feature film, the versatile David Moreau. Multifunctional because on the one hand, he participated in the writing of the script and directed the shooting, but in addition, he frequently changes the genre of films since before “King”, he directed the French thriller “Seuls” in 2017 or even the horror fiction “They” in 2006.
Fifteen years later, he therefore chose a style more for children and above all, took up the challenge of shooting with young actors and a lion cub. If effectively and fortunately, the majority of the sequences in the company of the little lion are digital, this aspect demonstrates more respect for the animals within this production, the scenes where the lion cub is seen are too rare for the benefit of adolescents.
Indeed, the story especially highlights the character of “Inès” played by the Belgian Lou Lambrecht (“Dad or Mom 2”). A regrettable screenplay choice because even if the animal remains mainly digital, it would have been more interesting to see its possible behavior in an almost urban environment and surrounded by humans.
If Lou Lambrecht embodies quite well an introverted teenager feeling bad about herself, her character could sometimes annoy adult viewers because her decisions are too spontaneous and the negative consequences not sufficiently exploited within “King”.
Alongside the actress, Léo Lorléac’h interpreting the brother of “Inès”, “Alex”. But above all, Gérard Darmon (“Everyone standing”) who is thus, the headliner and safe bet of “King”. Unfortunately, even he hardly manages to raise the level of the feature film.
Because between the story that can be guessed relatively easily, the allusions not always necessary to films of the 80s, the too accentuated vagueness around the character of “Max” (Gérard Darmon) or the sometimes obvious false connections, “King” is turns out not to be the best wildlife cinematic work of 2022.
Nevertheless and above all, “King” is aimed at children because it demonstrates that no wild animal should live in the city and that they should not be bought simply because of their cuteness. This can be dangerous for the animal, as for a human being.
In addition to this positive moral, the play of lights and colors of the feature film turns out to be warm and often brings a color close to the coat of the lion cub, that is sandblasted. Thus, the scene in the natural area is undoubtedly reminiscent of an African savannah.
Finally, “King” remains a story that can fascinate children, but perhaps less adults for the reasons mentioned. Entertaining, this achievement allows you to have a good family time in the company of a wild animal that must be saved above all.
EN – 2020
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
Director: David Moreau
Cast: Gérard Darmon, Lou Lambrecht, Léo Lorléac’h, Clémentine Baert, Artus, Laurence Facelina
Pathé Films Switzerland
16.02.2022 at the cinema