A Poor Attempt At An Adaptation
Over the past 20 years, there have been many film adaptations of novels; some very successful like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings while others have failed to leave their marks like the Divergent series and Percy Jackson. Unfortunately, Artemis Fowl belongs to the latter category.
Based on book series by Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl is a poorly adapted young adult movie full to the brim with exposition, very little charm and a rushed plot.
The story revolves around the smart but arrogant Artemis Fowl who lives in a manor with his father Artemis Fowl Senior, who has raised him with tales of fairies, ogre and trolls. After his father leaves for one of his mysterious trips, Artemis soon learns that he has disappeared and is accused of being a high profile thief. Upon investigation, Artemis discovers that the world of fairies is real and that his dad has been kidnapped, connected to a magical artifact called the Aculos. What follows is a race against time where Artemis does anything to save him and uncover the secrets behind the mythical world.
One of the biggest issues with the movie is the amount of exposition dumped from the first minute onward, as giant dwarf Mulch Diggums narrates every little detail of our tale. This feels very unnatural and forced, completely failing with the basic “show don’t tell” technique. This unnecessary exposition dump removes a lot of the charm and magic this story should have had, as all the information is constantly spoon-fed to you constantly.
I understand that book adaptations can sometimes be complex and changes are needed to bring the story to the big screen but in this case, too many differences from the source material can ruin the experience. There are far too many differences to the story here and it certainly won’t please fans of the series. Artemis Fowl has unfortunately strayed too far from the books series and tried to cram so much into it 93 minute run-time that it feels rushed and unfinished.
To be fair, there are some decent special effects, as expected from a Disney movie, showing us the world of the fairies nicely and including some good action scenes too. There are also a couple of fun one-liners from Josh Gad and Judy Dench, even if she does sound like Shohreh Aghdashloo from the Expanse. The rest of the cast fail to give performances worth mentioning, as they lack charisma, feeling very formulaic in the process. This again hurts the integrity of the story as we never really feel any sympathy toward our main characters.
There is always a lot of potential when it comes to adapting a successful book series to the big screen. As we have seen with many others, if done correctly it can become a world-wide phenomenon. Artemis Fowl had nearly 20 years to accomplish this feat but completely falls flat, leaving many wishing this had remained a book collection. With a rushed script and a story littered with exposition, Artemis Fowl fails to bring any new magic to the world of Disney and I will be very surprised if a sequel gets the go-ahead.