Artemis Fowl – Film Review

Artemis Fowl (Ferdia Shaw) is a twelve-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.

The first novel in Eoin Colfer’s largely-beloved series Artemis Fowl finally has a big-screen adaptation directed by Kenneth Branagh. His films are ones that I usually don’t enjoy (take for example Murder on the Orient Express), but I was willing to give this fantasy/science-fiction film a chance. It seemed like it could have been cute and fun, but I was totally wrong. This is one of the worst movies of the entire year.

This is without a doubt one of the most bafflingly weird films I have seen in quite some time as well. Just ten minutes into this disaster, we are treated (or tortured) with Josh Gad doing a horrifically bad Irish accent, terrible CGI, and Judi Dench as a fairy. It really didn’t take me long to figure out that this was going to be a trainwreck on all levels.

But aside from all of the terrible visual effects and accents that many of the actors put on, it’s just simply a boring movie to watch. The aforementioned book series is beloved by many children all around the world thanks to its imaginative story that is full of creativity and wonder. This movie definitely could have used that.

Ferdia Shaw as Artemis Fowl II in Artemis Fowl (2020).

It sadly plays out like every generic science-fiction film out there. It’s hard to not watch this film and wish you were watching something else. Anything else. There’s, of course, a big MacGuffin that is introduced in the first act, and really, the film as a whole is just about this army of fairies and how much they want this prized object. Strangely enough, the titular character himself is barely in the film. There became a point while watching the film where I genuinely wondered why it was called Artemis Fowl because he feels like a side character in virtually every way.

On top of all of this, the acting by all of the cast is extremely poor. It’s made all the more frustrating when you realize how good these actors usually are. Josh Gad is somebody whose roles I genuinely enjoy for the most part. I thought he was great in the 2017 Beauty and the Beast remake as LeFou and I love his voice work as Olaf in the Frozen films. But here, his character is not only underdeveloped but is annoying to listen to thanks to the terrible Irish accent.

Who thought it would be a great idea to make Judi Dench play the leader of the fairy army? All of this film feels like a gigantic missed opportunity. This is definitely one of those movies that, while watching it, it is so difficult not to see where it could have been improved easily. Sadly though, the film we got was criminally disappointing. Even fans of the series are going to be let down with this one, I feel.

With an array of weak performances, terrible visual effects, and a bland story, Artemis Fowl is one of the biggest misfires of the year.

Overall Grade: F

MPAA Rating: PG for fantasy action/peril and some rude humor

Cast: Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie, Colin Farrell, Judi Dench, Nikesh Patel, Joshua McGuire, Chi-Lin Nim, Lewy Xing, Adrian Scarborough

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

Distributed by: Disney+

Release Date: June 12, 2020

Running Time: 95 minutes

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