Movie #214 2020: Artemis Fowl (2020)

Oh boy. Where to start with this one?

Artemis Fowl is the long awaited Disney feature length movie, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Based on the series of fantasy novels of the same name, it tells the story of the son of a rich collectables dealer (played by Colin Farrell) named Artemis Fowl. When his father gets kidnapped by an unknown force, it’s up to the boy genius to find him. What he gets, however, is whisked into an entire fantasy world full of fairies and other so-called ‘imaginary’ creatures, making his task even harder than he ever thought it would be.

This movie has been getting a lot of stick online for all its negatives, so why not start with a few positives? Yes, there are some positives!

Animators were tasked with Artemis Fowl to create a whole new fantasy world. For the most part, they did a really good job, and some of the CGI in this is amazing. I’m sure it’s not the most technically brilliant and parts of the green screen is a little clunky and overly obvious, but it has its moments. The time freeze sequences are particularly awesome; one particular section takes place at an Italian(?) wedding, and is probably the most well-executed and exciting of the whole feature.

Onto the performances. Judi Dench is fabulous even if her acting isn’t exactly Queen Elizabeth level here. Colin Farrell is very handsome (he also does well with the little material he has, for what it’s worth.) Nonso Anozie as Dom is the best character full stop, and pretty much made the movie worth it for me. Josh Gad plays a character that he was basically born to play, even if it’s weird as shit. Ferdia Shaw as young Artemis is… fine. A good cast all in all, even if the child actors are a little questionable.

That’s probably where the positives end, I’m afraid.

Artemis Fowl had the potential to be an amazing, action-packed blockbuster but just doesn’t reach the heights of excitement somehow. Some of the scenes that were intended to be super exciting were more of just a massive clusterf*ck of craziness and I had no idea where I was supposed to be looking. There’s one particular sequence where some sort of blast emanates from Fowl Manor and the camera rotates around the exterior in which I completed blanked and didn’t have a clue what was going on. For a not particularly long film, the middle section especially seemed very slow and elongated, and the action sequences were just a massive explosion, rather than an orderly, coherent plot device.

Again, I’ve seen this getting a lot of hate, and I get it to a degree, but it’s not that bad… Kind of. It’s probably a good thing it went straight to Disney+ because I can’t imagine it would be any better on the big screen, and I’d be massively pissed off if I paid extra to see it.

A main atribute to the failure of this movie is its tempo. It just doesn’t peak interest and is all very one note with no peaks and troughs; even some of the high action scenes are underwhelming. A shame because this definitely has the potential to be much better, and definitely had the potential to be more original than it was.

I don’t know, I just wanted it to be better! For a movie with a lot of magic it just isn’t very magical.

If you gave this film a complete miss, you wouldn’t be missing much.

Artemis Fowl is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.

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