Artemis Fowl fails to deliver the magic of the books.
After the success of the Mandolorian at the launch of Disney + I was excited to hear that my childhood favourite book, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, was made into a film and put exclusively onto the platform. I was excited until I was roughly 10 minutes into the film.
We are introduced to the plot by Mulch Diggums (Josh Gad) being arrested in Ireland and then taken into custody by MI6 (which I have put down to a misunderstanding of the difference between the UK and the ROI). The exposition begins with the cliche of “let me tell you the story of Artemis Fowl”, and proceeds to give us the story of Artemis Fowl jr. (Ferdia Shaw) and how he is a typical Mary Sue, seemingly perfect in every way (granted the books also paint him as an expert at everything at the age of 12).
Suddenly the boy’s father (portrayed by Colin Farrell) is discovered to have been kidnapped by typical villain Opal Koboi (or according to IMBD “Shadowy Female Figure”) who is motivated to obtain the ‘Aculos’, a omnipotent mcguffin, and in doing so demands Artemis jr. to get it before she will return his father.
I’m not going to develop the plot further for you because despite reading the book, and the graphic novel, multiple times, I am yet to figure out what exactly happened in this film. The action was over before it really begun and the plot bounced back and forth, and took half the film to get out of the introductory exposition dump.
The most disappointing aspect of the film for me was that Judi Dench’s performance reminded me of someone who smoked 40 a day for 40 years, and I couldn’t get past the half Scottish, half Irish accent she put on for her character of Commander Root.
All that said, whilst this film has flaws (and a rather large number of them), this by-the-numbers adaptation of my favourite childhood book does have it’s merits – it reminded me of my favourite book, and for that I am grateful.
I believe that this film would have been better to have been fleshed out as a series, as half the film was exposition.
If you want to watch Artemis Fowl for yourself, you can watch it on Disney + here
A by-the-numbers film that misses the magic of the books