Artemis Fowl: Innocuous Fantasy Flies In One Ear and Out The Other

1.5 out of 5 stars (Terrible)

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This review is dedicated to my good friends Tim Bone, Nicholas Schiff, and any other fans of the Artemis Fowl series.  I watched this film so you didn’t have to.

Artemis Fowl is one of many young adult fantasy series released in the early 2000’s.  The film has been in development for over 20 years across multiple directors and studios, so one would hope the finished product would be worth it.  Unfortunately, Artemis Fowl is a generic, muddled, and cheap-looking mess that will confound newcomers and (as far as I’ve read) leave book fans fuming.  At least it went straight to Disney+.

From what I can grasp, the story follows young Artemis Fowl (Ferdia Shaw), who learns his father (Colin Farrell) is a criminal.  After Dad goes missing, Artemis discovers the fantasy stories he told him are true, and that he’s been kidnapped by a mysterious hooded creature who desires a mystical item for world domination.  Artemis captures a fairy named Holly Short (Lara McDonnell) to get the creatures to help him, leading to Commander Root (an oddly costumed-Judi Dench) calling upon oversized dwarf Mulch Digggums (Josh Gad doing what I can only presume is his best Batman impression) to assist, somehow.

A few of my friends are huge Artemis Fowl fans and have told me what happens in the books.  Without them, the film would be incomprehensible.  It’s a laundry list of fantasy tropes and screenwriting don’ts with a $125 million price tag (sans marketing costs).  The performers are doing the best they can and I chuckled 4 or 5 times, but I was overall ambivalent towards it, the worst feeling I could have.   Maybe youngsters will like it, but for me, Artemis Fowl is an overstuffed, forgettable lark whose saving grace is that it didn’t cost a theater ticket.  Skip it.

Rated PG for Fantasy Action/Peril And Some Rude Humor

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