So far, Disney Plus has been serving me nostalgia throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and I hoped that the Artemis Fowl movie would bring me back to the early 2000’s, in a time where continuous and horrific attempts at poorly adapting book series weren’t par for the course.
Can films be too dramatic? Absolutely. When a children’s film mimics the complexity and stakes of a Shakespearean play, you’ve got to look at the director. Who is it again? Kenneth Brannagh. It only took 14 minutes for me to laugh out loud at Artemis Fowl dramatically dropping a glass of milk onto the floor and whispering something along the lines of “that’s my father”. I would have assumed that Disney would have learned something from the bleak Brannagh-directed Thor (2011), that Disney helped re-invigorate in 2017 with the help of comedic mastermind Taika Waititi.
Unfortunately, like many, many film adaptations of book series’ that came before (Percy Jackson, Eragon, The Dark Tower), Artemis Fowl falls into the trap of taking the first book, and making it a strange prequel/origins story hybrid, presumably in an attempt to lure audiences back for the rest of series. Unfortunately, this exposition-filled, over-dramatic yet somehow emotionally-absent film really misses the mark. Not even Dame Judy Dench, Colin Farrel or Josh Gad could disguise the poor adaptation.
The film’s saving grace comes in the form of set design, prop-making, hair and make-up, and costumes. The folks behind the scenes are clearly top pro’s, and no expense seemed to be spared on making this magical world visually stunning and immersive. It’s just a shame that everything else pulls you back out again.
If You Liked This Film, You’ll Probably Like: The Books. Go and read them!
Joe Blogs Film Rating: 2/5