Artemis Fowl is a Disney+ Original film that was once going to be a theatrical release. This is based on a youth book series, being one of the few that I’ve actually read all of. I loved this series as a kid, I waited for them to release and would read them the day they were out from the moment I picked them up.
Non-stop reading until I finished after a few hours, and I would eagerly await the next entry. While I don’t think it’s always fair to compare films to books, they basically took the title, basic concepts and then threw the rest of the meaningful material out the window.
This movie is a disgusting mismatch of a few entries in the series, while completely removing any unique characteristics that made them special. I mean, why adapt a really strong standalone story when you can world build!
Even as a standalone movie without any reference to its source material, this is bad. This is really, really badly done. It’s ripping through its story with no character development, no meaning to anything and it feels like it hops along dashing towards the ending. It goes from, we need to keep this person hostage to, hey we’re friends right? This happens literally over a scene. It makes zero sense, it’s awful and I literally hated watching it. It was frustrating, disappointing and very poorly put together.
None of the story lines make any sense, there’s no depth and it features a short run time. It’s like there’s a whole other part of the movie that got cut or something since there’s nothing of substance here. Its soul crushing quite honestly, and it hurts more because I have a sentimental connection to this series. Even looking past the source material, this is a movie that fails to even be slightly comprehensive.
I think one of the worst parts is that it’s told through narration by Josh Gad, and that it completes itself with the most insanely generic we’re an action team finish I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Wow, what a bad time. If we do take a look at the source material, which I’ll do now. They basically Old Yeller’d it. The characters are changed, the story lines are adjusted and it weakens every aspect that made the books unique. I hope that someday there’s a proper adaptation since this was maybe a bit too dark for Disney to do?
Artemis Fowl (Ferdia Shaw) is supposed to be an awkward genius that’s completely against physical work. In this, he’s surfing and doing extreme sports essentially. They made him really cool and kid friendly since he plays with LEGO! They took Holly (Lara McDonnell) who is supposed to deal with problems being the first female officer, and made her have dad issues. Then there’s the really awful in this Commander Root (Judi Dench) who was supposed to be a tough, but caring leader and role model for Holly. Here it’s a mumbling Dench that has little to no personality in it.
I will say that the Butlers were fairly well done. Nonso Anozie is great as Domovoi being a strong physical presence and I didn’t mind the matching for Juliet in regards to Fowl’s age group though she didn’t do much at all in this. I think in general the casting was actually spot on. That would be the one good part I’d note on here, the characters felt right.
It’s just that they’re not in their original roles, and they butchered the thematic points they’re supposed to fill in. That leads me to Artemis Fowl, the character that got cut into the worst. He’s supposed to be a criminal, that’s his whole arc in this franchise. A dark, not at all caring and calculated child that is a genius. They get the sharp aspect right, but make him have an absolute heart of friendly gold.
That’s not the character, the whole point of the character arc over the series is that he becomes more open and caring as he connects with people. He becomes more active, changes his attitude and works to be a better person. That’s not represented at all here, they’re going to pretend to be criminals, give me a break. Frustrating, that’s what this is. It’s so watered down and broken that it’s not even resembling of its source material. Disney was probably happy this didn’t reach theaters as I don’t think it would have done well.
I suppose the CGI elements were alright, at times poor though the city underneath looked fantastic and they nailed the various characters present. They really did a good job with the fantasy creatures. I really liked Foaly (Nikesh Patel), but that character was again underutilized. In general I don’t have any issues with the visual presentation here, it worked well and had a high quality to it. It’s just that the story is trash, complete and utter trash.
Artemis Fowl is an atrocious film that’s awful even outside the context of trying to adapt the source material. I’ve noted many complaints in regards to how characters were treated, and how story lines were adjusted. There are many, many more that I could go over and it’s just beyond frustrating. I could honestly write some well structured essays in regards to where things were just purely wrong. Even trying to distance myself from being a fan of the books, this is a movie that does not stand on its own.
The plot is paper thing, nothing makes any sense and there is zero sense of coherence within this. It does look visually fine, and I thought the casting was spot on for the most part. It just tries to stuff every little thing it can in with no depth and then dashes towards an ending. The villain was poorly developed, being super weak despite in the books being a compelling over arching problem.
The setup was bad, the story was terrible and this was one of the most disappointing experiences of my life when it comes to film. I don’t know what they were thinking with this. I waited forever to see it happen, and I wish it hadn’t. It would have been better still waiting for an adaptation to come, at least with that there’s a hope that it would be properly done.
Again, looking outside of it from the context of the books it’s still just completely terrible. This is not worth a watch, and I don’t even think the intended audience would much care for what they do here. You have to keep in mind that this is for the younger audience, drained of any deeper substance that made it compelling. It’s just fluff that lacks soul, or even entertainment to any degree. I think it’ll just really cause confusion for the younger ones out there.
Artemis Fowl Review at Home with Streamed Viewing
Screening was Provided by Disney