Artemis Fowl Movie Review

When I heard that Disney was going to make a movie based on the Artemis Fowl books, I got pretty excited, as did many others. 

Artemis Fowl, a SUPER popular middle grade series by Eoin Colfer, was recently adapted to the silver screen, and released early to Disney Plus…and it’s getting KILLED by critics.

My take—its not amazing, but it’s not as bad as they say.

First off, my expectations were high, too. My family has a fond spot in our hearts for the Artemis Fowl series. My children read some, or all of the series when they were in middle grade and high school. I’ve even read some of the books, and found the stories to be rich, and full of action, mystery, and great world building.

And, therein lies some of the criticism. The books were so adored that this movie had critics waiting in line well before opening night, as many do when their source material is so beloved. That said, the movie is not without its faults, but, take heart because there’s a lot to like, too, especially if you’re quarantined in your house, looking for something to do to help pass the time.

Let’s start off with a few positives.

The Cast

First of all, there is a strong cast in this movie. You’ve probably heard of actors such as, Judi Dench, Colin Ferril, Josh Gad, and Nonso Anozie, among others. They all did their jobs well. There were even some great performances by actors I hadn’t heard of, especially, Lara McDonnell, who played the fairy Holly Short. She was fantastic, and really brought a key role to life. 

All that said, one of the most critical roles was that of Artemis, our criminal mastermind protagnist, and frankly, I just didn’t enjoy the actor’s performance (Ferdia Shaw).

While he might have been directed to act this way, he reminded me of the male equivalent to Bella Swan from the Twilight series: stiff, distant, and maybe a little too stoic for my liking.  In the books, I always saw Artemis as emotionally distant when he had to be, but in his core, there was a lot of heart behind the genius. This just didn’t come through for me in the movie. It didn’t destroy the whole expierience for me, but it didn’t help.

 

Special effects and Action

For me, the main attraction ended up being the special effects. Watching the movie in 4k HDR really made for a visually stuning experience. The fairy armor, the technology overlays, and explosions and magic, and even (especially) when the big dwarf opened his jaws to eat rocks (and let them fly :)) it all made for good viewing. 

Moreover, the movie picked up in its enjoyment level when we got the action (no surprise, given I’m calling out the special effects as the strength of the movie, and that’s when the action typically requires it.)

Story Integrity

Outside of some of the acting, and the major hit the movie takes from critics tends to revolve around either the story’s faithfulness to the books, or just how the movie went about the storytelling. 

Some watches have claimed to be confused by the plot, and that it was unecessarily hard to follow. That wasn’t my experience, but I had read the books. 

Not discimilar to the Percy Jackson adaptation of the books to movies, I think most fans were upset with how the movie wandered off, perhaps, a little too far. My son cried out in protest, actually, when the movie mentioned that Artemis’ mother had died (she hadn’t in book 1, and she was a major motivational driver for Artemis). I believe its these departures that have incited fans.

All in all, it was a solid show. The books are better, but this is worth a watch if you like science fiction and fantasy, and you’re looking for something to do to get through Covid-19. 

I’d give this movie 2.75 (rounded to 3) out of 5 time stops

 

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