2020 Film Review: Artemis Fowl
Updated: Jul 2
Plot Synopsis: 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.
When you think of the starting points of a hero, you think of Harry Potter, Peter Parker, Luke Skywalker etc. With each of these heroes, there's somewhat of a journey, learning new skills, adapting to many revelations and generally just progressing their traits. It really is the basics of a good guy character as you want to connect to them as you go on a journey with them, as they build on from the basis set at the beginning. With this, you don't want a hero to be completely set up straight away, with no real issues plaguing them or progression to be had because quite simply, that is boring. Sadly, 'Artemis Fowl' completely falls into this trap, as it is doomed as it has shortly just begun.
We meet young Artemis and immediately, we're told he knows everything and is way more intelligent than anybody ever, talking down about the likes of Einstein and Hawking. We also learn about how he looks down on many, not really the best starting point for a hero we are to get behind but we'll give it time. As the film begins, there's a focus on a fantasy underworld which of course, Artemis knows about each creature, how they act and what they can do. Even when encountering creatures - after shortly finding out the truly exist-, he immediately knows exactly everything to do, devising a foolproof plan and outwitting them in every single way. There's no development with Artemis at all and nothing ever goes wrong for him. The film straight up goes exactly how he intends it to, even after having minimal time as a 12-year-old child who has no experience in such encounters. It's a cardinal sin to have no real problems and bar a terrible troll fight that may be one of the worst final act fights ever, there really is nothing to trouble the child.
Whilst Artemis knows everything about these creatures and their mythology, the audience does not. This leads to a plethora of admin heavy scenes to fill us in and it gets undeniably unbearable. The issue that comes mainly from this is that it comes in the form of voiceover with nothing exciting happening or delivered poorly due to weak performances - who made Judi Dench do this? As this happens, we are told everything about each of our characters, with nothing to back it up or to visually showcase to us. A massive problem comes from the fact that there are some cases that are spoken quickly to us that sound a whole lot more interesting and fun than everything that made the actual final product. Some characters are truly affected by this, with a simple generic name and basic trait intro a la Katana in Suicide Squad.
No character suffers more than the villain, who is completely abandoned throughout the film and is simply there so they can return in future films. The villain captures young Artemis' father older Artemis and holds him captive and, eh, just sort of keeps him there. We don't properly see the villain, know anything other than they're a bad guy and later told that their name is Opal Koboi. Beyond this, there is absolutely nothing. The villain has no impact on any other events rather than keeping hold of Colin Farrell, wherein the end the escape plan doesn't have our heroes encounter the villain at all. Anonymous, not to be seen and having zero impact on anything, it's not a stretch to call this one of the worst villains on film EVER. Sure, they might build upon it in future films, but come on, with a 10% Critic score and a 21% audience score, we're not seeing this being continued surely.
A final act with a weak troll fight, a poor attempt at evoking any kind of emotion and a random shield absorbing and spitting fairies out - yes really -, the film can't even give a satisfying ending. As previously mentioned, we don't encounter the main bad guy, with an underdeveloped character trying to take control before easily being overthrown, whilst a big shield very slowly evaporates before it is all wrapped up neatly. It is truly stunning on how this film pans out, remarkably under-delivering on every aspect.
This film is quite remarkable on how it really manages to do nothing with its promising source material and pretty solid names attached to it. With very little excitement combining with weak performances, little character, no real adventure, villain, final act or good effects, the only positive I can scramble to is that this was only 96 minutes long. The list of issues continue in what is an impressive feat of its own and quite frankly, would take all day to list. Disney truly dropped the ball here big time as this is undoubtedly one of the years worst films, completely butchering any possibilities of further sequels. Fans of this series and infuriated and rightly so, it really is that bad.
Final Rating: 0.5/5
If you're thinking about checking out 'Artemis Fowl', it's not far off to recommend you watch literally anything else on Disney+. This is truly a sad total misfire that fails on every level and isn't worth checking out. Poor Judi Dench, poor Colin Farrell. Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read my review, I appreciate it loads and hope you enjoyed reading about this film. Make sure to come back for more reviews soon and continue to stay safe!