The road to the release of Artemis Fowl has been tricky, first off it was delayed from summer 2019 until May 2020, but following cinemas closing around the world due to the Coronavirus, Disney opted to move it to Disney+, which will no doubt make it one of the biggest Disney+ Originals the service is going to ever have. Since the budget is over 3 times the usual budget of a Disney+ Original movie and it shows, the movie is full of big summer blockbuster special effects.
And that’s what this movie reminds me of, it’s a solid family movie that you would find in the cinema during a summer holiday, but in the 1990’s, not now. It has all the ingredients of a big franchise, some big name actors such as Josh Gad, Colin Farrell and Dame Judi Dench, plus trolls, fairies, goblins, dwarfs and much more. It’s only natural to compare this movie to other fantasy franchises such as “Harry Potter” or “Lord of the Rings”, but it is more futuristic, which just seemed odd.
The whole movie just feels average, often feeling like a paint by numbers attempt to make a big franchise. However there are some issues, the story is just very generic and very predictable. The movie seems to just rush through everything, since the film is barely 90 minutes, which means it might work better for younger audiences, but for me, it needed a little longer to set up the world and who the characters are.
Artemis Fowl, as a lead character, suddenly went from a know it all horrible brat, to us having to care about him and his father. Suddenly we are supposed to believe he can take on an entire army of Fairies and that he is a criminal mastermind, when the film had only established himself to be extraordinarily smart. While the other characters barely have 30 seconds to introduce who they are, which doesn’t do them justice or allows them to become anything more than a one directional character. One example is the Juliet Butler, who is played by Tamara Smart, she seemed completely unnecessary to the overall story.
The villains also suffer from the same problems, when the movie was coming to an end, I was surprised, since I was expecting another act or two. The main bad “guy” is so generic and unfortunately, we never see them get their comeuppance, since the film is more focused on setting up a sequel.
I did enjoy Josh Gad’s character, Mulch, as he danced the line between good and bad guy, you didn’t know exactly what he was going to do next. Though I kept hearing Olaf narating throughout the movie, since while Josh was trying to do a different voice, it didn’t work. Speaking of bad voices, Dame Judi Dench just sounded terrible.
This is one of my issues with this movie, there are lots of niggly little things throughout the movie where things are just explained to us as quickly as possible, rather than letting them naturally unravel.
Artemis Fowl is a strange movie, it tries desperately to be something bigger than it is, wanting to be the next big fantasy franchise, but comes up short. Which is one of the problems, rather than just making one awesome movie and if it is successful, then go on from there, it feels like it’s trying too hard to set up a larger universe and is left wide open for future sequels, which makes sense considering how many books are in the series, but in the short term, it doesn’t deliver.
No doubt Disney wanted this to be the next big franchise, but it’s a misstep. For some reason, Disney just doesn’t seem to be able to get its live action movies together when it’s not Star Wars, Marvel or a remake. Much like “John Carter”, “A Wrinkle In time” or “Nutcracker and the Four Realms”, it is nothing more than average and it’s easy to see why Disney executives decided it wouldn’t be worthwhile rescheduling for a third cinema release date.
It’s a fun movie for kids and families to watch. I’m sure younger audiences will love seeing the house being smashed up by a troll and will enjoy the antics of a 12 year old, but I wouldn’t want to watch again and I’m glad I didn’t pay to go to the cinema to see it. If you’ve got a Disney+ subscription, check it out, especially since there isn’t that much else to watch right now!
Rating 3 out of 5
Artemis Fowl is available to view now on Disney+