Friday 12 June 2020

Artemis Fowl (Movie Review)

Disney is no stranger to putting out the occasional dud, so it might come as no surprise that their latest release is one of them. The warning signs were all there after all, from the many years it spent in development hell, to the uninspiring trailers that eventually started to materialize, to the fact that it was being put on Disney+ and foregoing a theatrical release. Except none of that was enough to prepare me for the king of duds that Artemis Fowl has turned out to be.

I'd be lying if I said the plot of the movie made any lick of sense to me, but there is at least enough to come up with a general synopsis. From the little I could gather, the film centers on a boy genius named Artemis Fowl (Ferdia Shaw making his acting debut). He is a kid that routinely gets into trouble at school for his lack of respect and empathy for his teachers and peers. So, yeah, he is kind of a schmuck and a brat to boot.

Well, that kid is eventually drawn into an underworld of sorts, where fairies and magic exists, when his father (also named Artemis Fowl and played by Collin Farrel), a famous antiques collector, disappears after being accused of stealing several priceless relics. Apparently, Artemis Fowl Snr. has been kidnapped by a mysterious figure from the fairy world and is being held ransom in exchange for a magical artifact called the Aculos, so it is up to Artemis Fowl Jnr. to save him.

I am not too familiar with the source material, so I can't really speak to how well it has been adapted here. What I can comment on however is how well the basic elements that are supposed to make up a movie come together, or in this case, fail to. Everything from its unlikable lead, to its messy plot and hideous special effects, to the cheesy dialogue and just as cheesy delivery. The whole thing comes together in a way that is sure to generate enough laughs and internet memes to last us many years.

It is hard to imagine how this movie was actually expected to kickstart an entire franchise, when all it has going for it is the involvement of a few A-list Hollywood stars. You've got to feel sorry for an actress as talented as Judi Dench though, starring in two back-to-back duds like Cats and Artemis Fowl within the space of six months. This was clearly nothing more than a paycheck for her. And if not, then I sincerely hope she gravitates back towards the kind of roles that endeared her to so many fans.

For a movie that is populated by magical creatures doing magical things, it amazes me just how much Artemis Fowl seems to lack magic of the cinematic kind. This was something that the Harry Potter movies always had in spades, so it is a bit of a shame to see just how much this one misses the mark.

As for the prospects of a sequel happening anytime in the future? Only time would tell I guess. It could very well end up finding some kind of cult following amongst its target demographic on Disney+, or receive the reboot treatment and get adapted into a TV show instead. Let's just hope that it doesn't get botched this badly if that happens.

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