Review: Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl (2020)

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writers: Kenneth Branagh and Hamish McColl

Starring: Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie, Colin Farrell, and Judi Dench

Plot: Artemis Fowl is thrown into a world of fantasy as he tries to track down his missing father.

Review: Oof.

Artemis Fowl is bad. It’s real bad. It’s like catastrophic levels of bad. I have not seen a movie fail this hard at just being a movie since 2015’s Fantastic Four. I just finished watching it not even 15 minutes ago and I could not tell you a single thing about the plot, the characters, or the world. It’s just an absolute disaster on every single level.

To be fair, I haven’t read the books. But, from what I’ve read online, it wouldn’t matter if I had anyways. Apparently, this adaptation just threw everything out the window. That’s not necessarily the reason the movie sucked though. There are a lot of bad adaptations that make good movies. This isn’t one of them by any stretch of the imagination. I paid attention the whole time and still can’t tell you what happened in this movie. I know that his dad went missing and they had to find some kind of device. I don’t have any idea what that device does. I just know that it was important to get back. I couldn’t tell you why the elves were upset with him. I couldn’t tell you who the bad guys are. There’s a lot I just couldn’t keep track of. And, you know what? I don’t care enough to try, because the movie didn’t care enough to explain properly the first time. There’s a lot of exposition here (half the movie is narration) and still nothing is clear. It’s ridiculous.

Speaking of ridiculous, every single actor that was in this movie looks bad by association. First of all, the kid who plays Artemis is stiff as a board. I’ve seen better performances from high school freshman reading the lines of Romeo and Juliet in their English class. It’s like he memorized the script without knowing what anything means and therefore found it impossible to put any emotion into it. The girl who plays the fairy lead doesn’t come across much better either. I mean… I can’t blame them. Who would ever be able to make sense of this baffling script? It had to have been especially hard for a child… which is weird because Artemis Fowl is a kids’ book, correct?

It’s really disappointing that Artemis Fowl doesn’t at least meet the “so bad its good” category, because there are a couple of cringe worthy things that are almost worth seeing. Both Josh Gad and Judi Dench decided that they’re just going to talk in Batman grumbles, even though it doesn’t really make sense for either character. Dench in particular got a massive, unintentional laugh out of me when she landed in a jet and dropped the line “Top of the mornin’ to ya” in that voice. I’m sure someone thought that’d be a hilarious or badass moment, but it fell extremely flat. It’s one of the worse things I’ve seen. And, the CGI on Gad’s dwarf character was just painful. He looked worse than scenes from The Mask, which were purposely cartoony and came out over 25 years ago. Actually, Gad’s whole character is just a miss. He narrates 90% of the movie in that annoying voice, mysteriously jumping back and forth from talking to us to talking to a law enforcement agency. It’s like they had two cuts and forgot what dialogue went with each movie. Either that or they thought no one would notice. I did. It was painful. Oh, and he poops out dirt. So, that’s a thing. Then, there’s this ludicrous Centaur character. He looks bad and acts even worse. There’s just something so utterly cringey about a CIA-type character neighing and prancing away. I’m pretty sure they weren’t trying to play it for laughs either.

I don’t think there’s anyone on this planet that’ll enjoy Artemis Fowl. Apparently, they changed too much for the book fans. Others won’t be able to get into it due to the lacking narrative. The characters aren’t likeable. The acting isn’t good. The CGI sucks. And, it’s not even a “so bad its good” contender. It’s just an overall bad time. My experience with it seemed to drag on for hours even though it wasn’t that long. It’s probably the worst thing Disney has put out in decades. They’re lucky that they had to drop it on Disney+ because, otherwise, it would’ve bombed hard. Just a complete and utter disaster.

I’m going to be in a bad mood about this one for a while…

TL;DR: Artemis Fowl sucks. Like really, really bad.

Score: 1/10 (Unbearable)

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