'Artemis Fowl' Review
'Artemis Fowl' Review
A Big Budget Misfire
In late November of 2018, Disney released the teaser to the long-awaited live-action adaptation of Eoin Colfer's beloved 2001 fantasy novel, 'Artemis Fowl'. In the one and a half years after that initial trailer dropped, the movie has finally come out on Disney's streaming service, Disney+, after going through reshoots and multiple release date changes. Having never read any of the books, how is this movie from the standpoint of being a film? To put it lightly, it is an absolute mess.
The forgettable narrative, most of which is narrated by Josh Gad's Mulch Diggums, tells the story of 12-year-old genius and descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, Artemis Fowl Jr, as he finds himself caught in an epic battle against a race of powerful underground fairies who may be behind his father's disappearance. But in all honesty, that isn't even really what the movie is about.
It is truly a testament to the casting director that every actor felt miscast for their characters. Gad tries to deliver a grisly yet fun performance as Diggums but it ultimately fails given. His attempts at being intimidating fall flat. With 'Cats' and now this, one has to wonder what has happened to Dame Judi Dench and her career. Here she plays a David Bowie-looking fairy with an annoyingly croaky voice that makes it appear as if she has been smoking ten packs of cigarettes each day her entire 800-year-old life. The most egregious miscast of all is first-time actor Ferdia Shaw as the titular "criminal mastermind" (a quote the character says about himself towards the end of the movie). It is easy to feel sorry for the young actor given how embarrassing his performance is. With his stilted line delivery and failing to bring charisma and a sense of likeability to the pre-teen genius, he doesn't make the protagonist relatable nor fun to watch.
Just looked at as a film and not an adaptation, 'Artemis Fowl' is one of the worst big-budget movies to come out in recent memory. Not a single artistic choice or filmmaking element worked. The screenplay is one of the worst so far this year. All the dialogue is either cliched or exposition. All the lines that come out of the characters' mouths' only service to progress the story. Due to this, none of the characters have unique personalities that make the movie engaging and entertaining to watch. They are nothing more than wheels on this vehicle that get it from Point A to Point B. With the constant "holding of the audiences' hand" given the non-stop exposition, it never challenges nor captivates the viewer. Which leads to the viewer becoming extremely bored.
As well as that, the CGI in this film ranges from mediocre to bad. A moment around the hour mark featuring Josh Gad's Mulch Diggums unhinging his jaw is laughably terrible.
The musical score is very generic, sounding like a hodge-podge of other fantasy film's scores.
Based on the beloved novel series of the same name from the early 2000s, 'Artemis Fowl is best described as 'Spy Kids' combined with a slowly paced, anti-climatic, boring and small-scale negotiator flick. Plagued by exposition-heavy dialogue, dull characters and an unengaging story, this wannabe franchise-starter is nothing short of an abysmal mess that will most likely offend the fans of the books and leave newcomers confused.