Directed By : Kenneth Branagh
Written By : Conor McPherson, Based on the novel by Eoin Colfer
Starring : Ferdia Shaw, Colin Farrell, Nonso Anozie, Judy Dench, Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad
Studios are no stranger to dumping their originally-planned-as-theatrical films with on streaming services, especially when their box office predictions are tracking poorly. These days however, premiering films on streaming services is standard procedure – with theaters being closed until further notice.
But with Disney doubling down on making Mulan the first blockbuster to play when theaters finally open their doors, and delaying most of their films instead of putting them on demand – hence why the decision to put Artemis Fowl essentially signaled that Disney had little faith in the YA-adaptation.
…and boy, were there they right to not have faith in this movie.
There’s no getting around it, Artemis Fowl is unfortunately…Well, foul. A soulless, hollow film that never really tries to get you to care about the characters, nor the story. Based on the award winning novel & directed by the great Kenneth Branagh – you’d think they’d bank on the fact that this is a property – rich with mythology and lore, but no – they just seem to vaguely introduce some characters out of nowhere, and story elements that feel half-baked.
It also doesn’t help that the lead child actor, Ferdia Shaw was rather questionable in the film. The film seems to realize that too – because as the film progresses you see less-and-less of him, relegating more screen time to supporting characters such as Judy Dench’s Commander Root, and Lara McDonell’s Holly Short. Plus, the entire film is questionably narrated by Josh Gad, who plays a ‘tall dwarf’ (yes, we’re dealing with this kind of obnoxiousness) – who uses an incredibly annoying, and dumb sounding growl throughout the film (Judy Dench also does the same thing).
Oh! did I mention that this film sets up a sequel that no one wants to see?
It’s hard to fathom how things went so wrong, from what we can salvage – it seems that the film was reshot and ADR’d to absurdity – very little of what was shown in the trailer made it in the actual film ala Rogue One. It’s a shame because the film does show its price tag with its technical qualities, the CGI was decent, and Kenneth Branagh’s action directing was pretty entertaining – everything else though? A disappointment.
I would say that Artemis Fowl could’ve been great, but judging from how abysmal the final product is – it seemed that they never even cared in the first place…