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"Artemis Fowl" Movie Review

Updated on December 17, 2021
Alec Zander profile image

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

I am so glad Artemis Fowl went straight to digital instead of going to theaters. I was moderately excited for this film because it's Disney and is directed by Kenneth Branagh, and stars two outstanding actors: Colin Farrell and Judi Dench. The end result however was maddeningly disastrous. I haven't read the books personally, but from what I've been told and from what I've read on researching the differences between the film and books has led me to the conclusion that the books are superior and much more imaginative. I'm not going to delve into all the differences I discovered. A far more knowledgeable person can do that for you. Instead, I'm going to review this film as me, a person who has very little knowledge of the books and went into this film blind.

Let's start with the story. The film follows Artemis Fowl Jr, who wakes one morning to find his father has been kidnapped and is being blamed for some of the world's greatest heists. Artemis is instructed by the kidnapper to find the Aculos, a relic of immense power which is said to be able to open portals between worlds. After reading his father's journals, Artemis discovers that magical creatures such as fairies, dwarves, and trolls actually exist and that the Aculos is in the possession of an organization called LEPRecon. After capturing a fairy, Artemis and his butler Butler (yep that's his name) try to negotiate a trade: the fairy for the Aculos. But the hatred between fairies and humans is too strong and an all-out battle ensues. Will Artemis be able to retrieve the Aculos and save his father, or will the fairies succeed in taking back the world?

In theory, the story sounds like the film should be a ton of fun. But what kills the film is the writing and the horrific pacing. Supposedly, this film tries to cover the first two books but there's so much that's been taken out of the source material and replaced by new stuff that there's no reason why the film should feel this overstuffed. It literally felt like there was too much going on and at the same time nothing was going on. It takes a really skillfully bad writer to accomplish that feat. But that's actually another surprising issue. Connor McPherson, who wrote the screenplay, in NOT a bad writer at all. He's written only a couple of films and some TV episodes but all of them were praised and a couple were critically acclaimed. So why in the world would he do such a horrible job writing this film?

There is some good that I can give the film credit for. Kenneth Branagh's direction was the best thing about the film, bringing beautiful scenic shots and a sense of fun to the calamity.

The acting was decent too. Ferdia Shaw did the best he could with the content he was given, Josh Gad is a delight as always, and Colin Farrell and Judi Dench were the proverbial firefighters in the burning building.

In conclusion, if you don't care about the books and you just want something to pass the time then, sure, check out Artemis Fowl. But if you're looking for a faithful adaptation, you might want to wait about ten years for the reboot. I give Artemis Fowl a 1 out of 4.

© 2020 Nathan Jasper


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