Wow! Where to begin? Unfortunately, Artemis Fowl by Disney is a pretty big letdown. It’s probably good this was released on Disney Plus and not after theaters open back up because a lot of people would’ve wasted their money. This film falters on multiple levels, but the most obvious culprit as to why this is a bad film is the script. It is just really poorly written, the storyline is convoluted and overstuffed and the dialogue is lazily written. Now, there a few positive aspects, but they pale in comparison to the list of negatives.
Colin Farrell is very good here and fits his role well, even though he’s very much a supporting character. I’ve always enjoyed his performances and this is no different; if only we got to see more of him. Another good thing Artemis Fowl has to offer is Lara McDonnell. McDonnell plays an integral role and does a nice job at making her character likable.There are many scenes where the quality of the effects is top notch and that at least gives the audience something pretty to look at.
Ferdia Shaw as the lead character Artemis Fowl II is a mixed bag. He’s young and it’s clear he has more learning to do. There are some scenes where he handles things fine but other instances where it’s clear he’s not yet ready to be a lead player. Josh Gad is another mixed bag. I really didn’t like him at first here but he steadily improved as the film went on. Some of his not so great moments may be because of the script though to be fair. I love Judi Dench and she is an exceptional actress but here I felt she was kind of phoning things in unfortunately. I just couldn’t feel what I usually feel from her.
This script is incapable of telling an entertaining story that makes sense and carries some weight. It’s also incapable of giving us meaningful characters that we connect with and care about. The story is really all over the place and is in desperate need of focus and direction. This is an adventure and coming of age type Disney fantasy, but it fails on both parts.
Adventure is largely non existent here, other than some scenes taking place in the fairy world, the majority of the action takes place at Fowl manor. It would’ve been nice to get our main protagonist out of the house and actually have him go on a quest or something. That would’ve been adventurous and whole lot more entertaining.
This film could’ve had an interesting coming of age aspect in regards to young Artemis. We could’ve seen him come into his own in an authentic way, but instead the only real “growth” his character has is being told fairy tales are real and putting on a suit and sunglasses. Needless to say…. not very good character development.
Another issue in regards to characters is that there’s simply too many of them. We have an overcrowded situation going on here. We’re constantly switching to different characters and letting them have a moment and the consequence from that is that no one really gets to stand out and shine. Unfortunately, the end result in regards to the characters in this film is that I didn’t care much about anyone once the credits rolled.
Another shocking choice they made here that is unbelievably bad is the villain. The villain barely has any screen time at all and is also extremely lame. They never seem like too much of a threat and they really only show up twice. It’s almost like they gave us a villain in the beginning and then completely forgot about them until the end and suddenly remembered. Again, another example of the lack of direction this film has. It just doesn’t know how to tell a solid story with quality characters.
Another negative aspect I must bring up is the lazy almost cringe worthy dialogue. There are moments of attempted comedy that fail miserably and moments of forced sentimentality that the script just doesn’t earn. It’s really unfortunate because not only is this “story” tedious and poorly told, and not only are we given characters we can’t really connect with, but the dialogue is also lazy and at times, cringeworthy.
Artemis Fowl has a couple good performances and some cool visual effects, but unfortunately the script is terribly written and we never have the opportunity to connect with any of the characters. Sorry Disney but this one is a stinker!