Synopsis: Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius and descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds. He soon finds himself in an epic battle against a race of powerful underground fairies who may be behind his father’s disappearance.
When Artemis Fowl’s father is taken by an evil fairy. It’s up to 12-year-old Artemis to investigate and find a way to rescue his father by retrieving a magical item called the Achulos. To do so Artemis must find a way to contact and make a bargain with the Fairies. As he slowly figures things out Artemis befriends a fairy by the name of Holly Short, who happens to be the daughter of the faerie that worked with Artemis’s father Artemis Snr to protect and keep the Acholus safe.
Ferdia Shaw makes a pretty good fist playing the titular character but given that Artemis is meant to be a master thief. His portrayal seems to lack a bit of an edge, which I feel is probably more to do with the writing than his performance. I really enjoyed Josh Gad’s performance as Mulch who is the oversized Dwarf that winds up being a big part of Artemis’s plan to save his father. Mulch for me steals the show in that he comes off as a lot more devious than the titular character. Nonso Anozie is also fun as Artemis’s Butler and bodyguard Domovoi Butler who provides some of the films sweeter moments. While Lara McDonnell gives us a very confident Fairy as Holly Short.
Based on the books by Eoin Colfer Artemis Fowl comes across as a rather softened and more Disney friendly version of the Edgier character that fans have read about in the books. Based on the little I knew about the books going in. I was expecting a slightly more brilliant and edgy character than what we got here. The whole film feels like an exercise in world-building and whimsy, which sacrifices a fair bit of character development in order to rush us through the story, which is loosely based on the first two books.
In the extras, we get a seven-minute feature in which director Kenneth Branagh talks about his love of the books and discusses a few of the compromises that were made in adapting the film. Apparently Eoin Colfer was present for a fair bit of the production and oversaw the various designs that the production company did for the sets which were built for the world in which the Fairies lived. It would have been interesting to hear a bit more from both Colfer and Brannagh in terms of adapting the story given that it seemed to lack the edginess and character beats that the books are so loved for.
Overall. Artemis Fowl doesn’t deliver the character-driven adventure that I think fans were hoping for. The few fun character moments the film does have to go by so fast that there is barely time to breathe before the next set piece or action beat. The only character that really comes out smelling of roses is Mulch, which is thanks to a very charismatic performance from Josh Gad.
The end of the film makes it very clear that the intent is to develop a franchise. We can only hope that enough people enjoy it enough to get another chapter but for my money its a rather average kids movie with a big budget but some rather flat characters. Which is more to do with the script than the actors.
- CGI & Stunts9.0
- Incidental Music7.0