Disney+ released the long-awaited film adaptation of Artemis Fowl this month. It suffered from several delays during production; the final one a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which saw the film postponed from its May 2020 theatrical release date. The movie might have received a warmer welcome in theaters, but it hasn’t been well received by audiences of the small screen, especially those who are dedicated book lovers
The movie is based on the first two books of the popular Artemis Fowl series by Eion Colfer. Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Much Ado About Nothing), the special effects of this story’s magical creatures are amazing throughout, and would have been more readily appreciated in a larger than life theater format.
Condensing the story of the first two books into one movie resulted in a fast-moving plot that requires close attention, or else it quickly becomes too confusing. Fans of the book series may be displeased with the many plot points skipped, adjusted or abridged in the film adaptation. While it is possible that future movies could elaborate and fill in areas of the story, the lukewarm reception of Artemis Fowl makes it unlikely there will be any sequels to bring the remaining six books to the screen.
Ferdia Shaw does well in portraying the 12-year-old Artemis Fowl. Fowl’s intelligence and determination as he seeks to rescue his father, a collector of magical artifacts, is brilliant. The impressive cast also includes Judy Dench as Commander Root and Colin Farrell as Artemis Fowl Sr. Other key characters are the elf Holly Short (Lara McDonnell), an enforcement officer in the LEPrecon police force in Haven City, the underground home of the fairies. Mulch Diggums (Josh Gad), a giant dwarf and an expert thief provides background to the story during his interrogation by British Intelligence. Fowl’s loyal confidant, Domovoi “Dom” Butler (Nonso Anozie), helps him as he works to rescue his father and also brings his niece Juliet (Tamara Smart) to help during this crisis.
Overall, this is a solid family movie with some flaws; it can be entertaining to watch if expectations are not set too high. Fowl’s father tells him that the old stories have an end that makes you smile. It may be that this story was under too much pressure to carry through on that promise.
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