Based on a series of novels by Irish author Eoin Colfer, ‘Artemis Fowl‘ is a Disney science fiction fantasy streaming exclusively to DisneyPlus. It is directed by Kenneth Branagh based on a screenplay from Conor McPherson and Hamish McColl. I have never read the novels, so I will not be comparing them in this review.
Irish businessman Artemis Fowl (Colin Farrell) is accused of stealing priceless artifacts and is arrested by British intelligence along with overgrown dwarf thief Mulch Diggums (Josh Gad). Upon interrogation, the dwarf tells the story of 12-year-old Artemis Fowl Jr. (Ferdia Shaw) and his search for the magical “Aculos.” Artemis Sr. is kidnapped by Opal Koboi (Hong Chau) and is held for ransom over the Aculos. Meanwhile, Elf police Commander Julius Root (Judi Dench) sends young Elf Holly Short (Lara McDonnell) to stop a rampaging giant, but she diverts to the Fowl Mansion where she is capture by young Artemis, his father’s associate Dom Butler (Nonso Anozie) and his niece Juliet (Tamara Smart). They hold Short for ransom knowing the fairies will rescue her, but secretly, Artemis knows the Aculos is the only thing that can save his father and he’s banking on the elves sending someone else that can open the safe where it is stored.
I do not know where to begin with this Disney movie. I have seen a few films where a lot happens and nothing at the same time. It is rare, but this one nailed it. There is so much action, but so little plot, it feels like the movie could have been cut down to forty-five minutes.
As for the acting, I felt like everyone phoned it in. No one, not even the child stars, seemed to take what they were doing seriously. Everyone performed with a high level of mediocrity that was glaring, even on the technical points. For example, Judi Dench and Josh Gad were faking a gravelly voice that was off-putting and disconnected from the rest of the cast.
I feel like the story did not make me realize what the stakes were. Every character, even minor ones, was a Mark or Mary Sue. There seemed to be no stopping them no matter the peril they were in, so much so that when something dangerous would happen, you would shrug. A minor point, but this was punctuated by the lazy crude humor that even a child viewer would yawn at. I feel shocked, especially since Kenneth Branagh, a director I admire, helmed this project.
Even with the CGI, it was not impressive. Believe me, I am pro-CGI, but the work in this film seemed to be taking cues from the early 2010s instead of modern techniques. There was one particular scene where the main characters fight a giant that was poorly designed.
Bottom line, Artemis Fowl is a boring, mediocre, and sub-par movie on DisneyPlus. I find it hard to believe that even its target audience would enjoy it. I hope that Disney does not allow its streaming service to go the way of Netflix where every project is seemingly greenlighted with impunity.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Magical violence, Crude humor
FAVORITE QUOTE: Help me, I’m stuck.
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my movie reviews of the DisneyPlus films Stargirl and Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.