Saturday, June 13, 2020

Review: Artemis Fowl

Release date: June 12, 2020
Running time: 95 minutes
Starring: Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Judi Dench

Artemis Fowl was originally scheduled for a theatrical release this summer, but when the world shut down Disney made the admirable move of releasing the film on its Disney+ service.  After his father is taken, young Artemis Fowl, a criminal prodigy, hunts down a secret society of fairies that he thinks are responsible for this.  In the process, he will discover much about his own family and the world that we cannot see.

Artemis Fowl is a mixed bag.  First the good.  It has an all-star cast, including the likes of Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Colin Farrell, and Nonso Anozie.  Now how these characters are used is a different story but at least they got a good group to star in this.  And it also has admirable work from newcomers Ferdia Shaw and Lara McDonnell.  In fact, all the cast put in good performances in a script that is a mixed bag.  And on top of the cast, the story is filled with beautiful special effects.  The film went all out on the CG, and for most part it looks good.  Sometimes it is a little too much, hurting the suspension of disbelief, overall it is a beautiful movie.  And the story has some interesting parts, with a secret fantasy world hidden right under our noses.  It feels at times like part Men in Black, part Harry Potter; a fantasy world that regular humans cannot see and that the fairies must jealously protect.

However, this story feels all over the map.  There are some interesting concepts, but the Fairy world just didn't hold my attention like I was hoping.  And there are some aspects that are not explained, which I imagine is paving the way for a sequel of this film.  Unfortunately, although this is an ambitious film, I don't think that it will be starting a franchise.  The characters are over the top, but I didn't love them.  Like I said, the actors all put in fine performances but I believe they are let down by the story.  And poor Judi Dench, going from Cats to a gruff Fairy queen.  This film is also in a weird place in terms of content.  It is too scary for young kids, but not advanced or serious enough for young adults.  I don't know if this will appeal to older kids and teens, but my own children didn't want to see this.

Artemis Fowl is a bold effort, with an all star cast and really beautiful effects, but the hit or miss story and odd choices hold this film back from soaring. 

Rent it.

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