Artemis Fowl (2020)

Rating: PG
Length: 1hr 35
Release: 12.6.2020
Director: Kenneth Branagh
About: 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.

First Thoughts

This is my Harry Potter. The one literary franchise that I’ve been waiting two decades to see transferred to film. I watched it as soon as it was physically possible. How could I not?!

The Good

  • The visual world building is stunning. Especially when we oh-so-briefing see the fairy world.
  • There’s a wonderful scene between Holly and Artemis that hints at the deep rooted friendship that they develop over the series in the books.
  • There are some brilliant one liners and I cheered loudly at the often used ‘D’arvit’ in the book.

The Bad

  • Most of the problems come from the presentation of the characters. When the original source gives you well developed characters and complex relationships, there’s no excuse for the lacklustre and undeveloped characters presented.
  • The dynamic of Artemis and Butler is wrong. Too wrong as it makes Artemis weak and too wrought with emotion for him to be the closed of genius I’ve spend so much time with.
  • While I love Judy Dench as Root, it removes one of the most empowering storylines for me, and many young women. Holly’s biggest story arc centres around her being the first female LEPrecon officer and how her success or failure would determine future recruitment. Instead we’re given a over zealous youngster. Her spark, spunk and frustration of being the poster girl is all gone and it makes me so sad.
  • I don’t understand Josh Gad’s “I am Batman” narration. It’s a really odd framing for the whole story, especially when it’s pay off doesn’t really work. Actually, forget the Batman impersonation, I just wish they’d scrapped the narration completely. Speaking of Josh Gad, they really did have a wonderful set up for Mulch to ask Root if her first name was Samantha. They squandered it.

The Ugly

  • When Holly Short is described in the books as having hazelnut coloured skin, I’m massively pissed that in 2020 we are still subjected to whitewashed protagonists. Yes, I’m sure we can argue that this film is diverse in its casting, but Holly Short is one of the leads. That shits not cricket.
  • They killed Artemis’ mother! What the fuck man?! You just erased the potential for the franchise to …. wait, this film isn’t getting a sequel let alone a franchise. However, I’m gutted that the twins don’t and won’t exist in the world.

Final Thoughts

As a book adaptation, its an abomination. Eoin Colfer literally couldn’t have written a better film-ready story, but it was stripped of everything. Its almost as if those involved didn’t read the source material. Fans will most definitely feel short changed.

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