Starring: Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Running Time: 95 mins
Artemis Fowl is an American film about a child genius who, after his father goes missing, hunts down a secret society of fairies and the secret power they possess.
Not only does this film not make the slightest bit of sense, but it’s a painfully boring, superficial and unenergising family/action/sci-fi flick from Disney, with none of the imaginative capacity nor cinematic spectacle that the studio is so often skilled at bringing to life.
Though it has the promise of a light-hearted, family-friendly brand of action that could work in the same vein as Stormbreaker, Artemis Fowl takes itself way too seriously, getting ridiculously caught up in its insanely complex fantasy lore.
The film’s premise seems simple enough at the outset: there’s a secret society of advanced fairies living under the ground, and Artemis Fowl is a young criminal genius trying to defeat them. But, along with some fairly tenuous motivations for conflict on both sides, this film spends so long delving further and further into the world of the fairies for no good reason.
To enjoy what could have been a purely entertaining action/sci-fi movie, we really don’t need to know about the differences between fairies, gnomes, dwarfs and all the other random subsets of people in the magical society underground.
Couple that with the fact that the way that seemingly mystical land is portrayed is so painfully dull – from generic CGI visuals to no character depth – and it fails to inspire any imagination whatsoever.
What’s more, Artemis Fowl is a film that takes place on such a small physical scale, yet tries to deliver the world at the same time. Apart from the green screen-heavy dives into the fairies’ land earlier on, the rest of the film takes place almost entirely in and around the Fowl mansion on the Irish coast. And that’s it.
So, you’re expected to sit back and bask in a galactic battle for the ages that doesn’t even move beyond the confines of one house for what seems like hours on end. Disney are often good at bringing real cinematic spectacle to almost any story, but they really miss the mark here.
Overall, then, there isn’t much at all to write home about with Artemis Fowl. A purely non-sensical load of sci-fi/fantasy gibberish, it’s a painfully dull film that takes itself too seriously and yet brings its fantasy to life in an unimaginative and drab way. It lacks any character depth, story motivation or even cinematic spectacle, making it an impossibly underwhelming watch, which is why I’m giving it a 4.0.