Rumours of an ‘Artemis Fowl’ adaptation have been rumoured ever since I was 12. I always hoped I would see a film based on the book series during my childhood. However, it wouldn’t be until 16 years later that I’d see one…and it’s awful!
‘Artemis Fowl’ is the adaptation of the beloved book series by Eoin Colfer, and revolves around a 12-year old criminal mastermind who is caught up in a battle between magical creatures, and a quest to find the artefact Aculos, which was stolen from the fairies by Artemis’ father.
If the plot sounded confusing, don’t worry: the film is also a confusing mess!
Until now, I had never seen a book adaptation as bad as ‘Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant’ (another book series that I grew up with), but at least that film followed the first book’s basic plot. In a confusing decision, this tries to mix different plotlines from the overall series into a 90-minute film. Originally, I was going to write an article comparing the film to the book series. However, after watching ‘Artemis Fowl’, I realize that this can’t be achieved, because of the mixture of plots.
At the same time, what else is there to say other than it’s terrible and really boring? Most of the cinematography is made up of long, panning shots and is used whenever the film can. The editing and pacing are all over the place; the first 20 minutes is painfully slow but then suddenly changes its pace awkwardly and without any warning. Because of the rushed beginning (which could’ve been achieved in 5 minutes), the relationship between Artemis and his father (played by Colin Farrell) isn’t established, making them unimportant. Their emotional core is also non-existent because the film rushes to get rid of Farrell’s character to start the main plot. I’m also convinced that some shots have been cut earlier than they were supposed to, making some scenes awkward and uncomfortable.
All the actors sound bored and, for the most part, have no change of tone or expression in their voices. Colin Farrell tries his best with the small amount of screen time he gets but again, like previously mentioned, the film rushes through the plot, giving us hardly any character development and no reason to care about him. Ferdia Shaw, who plays the titular character, tries to carry the film, but all I ended up realizing is that he can’t carry an Irish accent, and sometimes forgets that Fowl is even supposed to have one!
Even Josh Gad, who plays the giant dwarf Mulch Diggums, does a mediocre job with his character and the narration he’s given. But the narration is often confusing; at the start of the film, it’s established that he’s telling the film’s events to whoever’s keeping him captive. However, at certain points, the narration seems to address the audience. The first signs of this happening are 20 minutes into the film.
If I had to say anything positive about ‘Artemis Fowl’, it would be that the character designs and costumes are my favourite parts, however the film industry has had ‘Lord of the Rings’ to thank for the character designs. By now, the fantasy genre has found its formula so copying or even finding inspiration isn’t too difficult when approaching this genre.
Overall, the 16 year wait for an adaptation of the ‘Artemis Fowl’ series wasn’t worth it, and I can only repeat what other sources have said about it, including our own review here on the site. It’s boring, uneven and a mess that newcomers to the franchise would probably find very confusing.
Fly away from this film as fast as you can!
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