Was I a date, a friend or just a potential English teacher? Forgive the crude analogy, but studying the Japanese is like observing an exotic species in the wild. You can dedicate your whole life to understanding your subjects but eventually, inevitably, they will do something that surprises and confounds you. This revelation stems from an unfortunate falling out I had with a Japanese friend recently. This friend - we'll call her Yuko - and I have known each other for a little shy of two years now and things had been going swimmingly. We had a lot of similar tastes and I saw her as a very progressive, gaijin-friendly Japanese; very thoughtful, great sense of humor, boundless wit.
It involves crafting a storyline that's straightforward enough to engage younger viewers yet sufficiently sophisticated that it keeps the attention of the parents and older siblings who accompany them. This peculiar alchemy eludes the filmmakers behind The Kid Who Would Be King, a fantasy-adventure inspired by Arthurian legends that, although perfectly entertaining for children in the age bracket, may be a bore and a chore for adults. It skims along the surface, always taking the obvious path, never courting interesting possibilities, and trumpeting trite messages about friendship, truth, and belief in self. Those ideas are laudable but good movies find ways to integrate them into the subtext rather than having characters make speeches about them.