ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

"Artemis Fowl" Movie Review

Updated on June 19, 2020
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life, he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl | Source

With a $125 million budget and a primo post-Memorial Day weekend opening, Artemis Fowl was all set to be one of the tentpoles of Disney’s summer, nestled snuggly between the live-action Mulan and the Dwayne Johnson/Emily Blunt-starrer Jungle Cruise. It was also, presumably, the kick-off of a multi-film extravaganza based on the wildly popular YA book series by Eoin Colfer. The first part of that didn’t happen because of the pandemic. The second part isn’t going to happen because the film is an absolute mess.

An overcomplicated, bloated attempt to fill the void in the YA film franchise market, Artemis Fowl misses the mark of being a Harry Potter-ish fantasy and instead comes off like the dismal misfire that was 2007’s The Golden Compass—a ridiculously convoluted and visual effects-reliant movie that is overly concerned with setting up a franchise instead of telling its own story well.

Newcomer Ferdia Shaw leads the way as the titular kid-genius, a 12-year-old who trots through life believing Einstein was “usually correct”. When his father Artemis Sr. (a woefully underused Colin Farrell) disappears and is later revealed to have been kidnapped by the evil pixie Opal Koboi (Hong Chau), the youngster springs into action. With the help of bodyguard Dom “Don’t-Call-Him-the-Butler” Butler (Nonso Anozie), Artemis is off on his mission after being introduced to his father’s lifelong research into the existence of magical creatures.

Opal, we’re told, is holding Artemis Sr. hostage in exchange for the Aculos, a mystical artifact with world-changing powers (which, incidentally, never appears in any of Colfer’s books). Before we know it, every fairy, banshee, and centaur is on the hunt for the Aculos, culminating with the requisite big, third-act battle as everyone tries to get their hands on the thing.

Why? We’re still not sure. There’s something about a “time freeze”, the Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance (yes, the acronym is LEPRecon), and a huge troll that destroys Artemis’s living room, but it never adds up to anything coherent. Heck, even the great Dame Judi Dench (as the LEPRecon commander) and the solid Josh Gad (as our tour guide, an oxymoronic giant dwarf) can’t save Artemis Fowl from feeling like a hurried-up/mashed-up concoction of half-baked ideas.

Director Kenneth Branagh (who blessed Disney with his stellar live-action Cinderella back in 2015 and most recently offered up a decent take on Murder on the Orient Express) certainly knows his way around a film and does his level-best here to make something out of nothing. He spices things up with above-average effects and even brought on his buddy Patrick Doyle to compose a sweeping, Celtic-tinged score—one of the film’s few bright spots. In the end, however, everything is undermined by the all-over-the-place screenplay by Conor McPherson and Hamish McColl. Frankly, Branagh never had a fighting chance.

Artemis Fowl’s cardinal sin, though, is that it sees itself as the launchpad for a presumptive series that could carry Disney through much of the 2020s. Had it taken the more prudent route of telling its story in a bubble (or even a part of one), we may not now find ourselves seeing the film as what it truly is, the introduction of a young man whom we will never see again.


1/5 stars

'Artemis Fowl' trailer


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)