I live, I die, I live again (sandstorm) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,
I live, I die, I live again

ontd original: I watched it so you don't have to; Disney's "Artemis Fowl".

Hello, I am once again here to talk to you about Artemis Fowl (2020). I'm not going to nitpick on shit that people have already complained about, like Artemis surfing, or wearing jeans, because that's really the least of everyone's problems on planet earth.

Pictured: Me for the past 21 months.


  • An annoucement that it would rise from development hell in 2017.

  • A trailer in 2018.

  • A pushback in 2019 to 2020.

  • A push to the streaming service in April 2020

Finally, at long last, Artemis Fowl has been made into a movie! So, how was it?

[Spoiler (click to open)]

So it's...'Loosely Based on Someone Giving Us a Very Confusing Synopsis of Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl'.

There are 15 minutes of deleted scenes. Some (many) are pointless. The main scene of the first trailer is completely cut out of the movie. It is one of maybe 3 book-accurate scenes.

I was watchinig the movie going "Wait...isn't Hong Chau supposed to be here?"

You can tell this was edited and reshot - poorly - from trailer #1 in Nov. 2018 to trailer #2 in March of 2020.

  • The above scene is where Artemis tricks a fairy into giving up her copy of The Book - the Fairy Bible each fairy has - To find out how they operate. In the movie, this is completely gone. Hong Chau never shows up. It's not a particularly good scene, but it is book accurate. Pick your poison, I guess.

  • Hell, the tagline chaged over 18 months; "Time to Believe" (2018) ➡➡➡ "Remember the Name" (2020).

  • They added a voice over segment. Josh Gad's character narrates what happened to interrogators. He's gone for about 20 minutes in the 3rd act, to return to finish up. It's aping for a 'Fairy tells tale of humans' feel, but it comes across as really odd.

They really added a lot of dicks to this.

  • In the book, there are an equal number of male and female characters - Though TBF, Artemis' mother is bedridden. His father is not in the first book.

In the movie;

  • His mother is straight up dead and his father is alive and a present parent who is trying to get Artemis Fowl II (I'm calling him AFII) to believe in fairies. Congrats! That's 80% of the actual drama gone!

  • Holly's rogue father is shoved in here as someone who stole The MacGuffin -  I'm sorry, I meant 'The Aculos' - and worked with Sr. Fowl. He maybe has a passing mention in 7 books. Why couldn't it have been Holly's mother, who is actally mentioned a lot in the books!

  • Maybe everyone thought that turning Commander Root female (Played by Old Deuteronomy - I mean Judi Dench) solved the problem. As someone who always imagined Root as that purple Monstar with the cigar from "Space Jam", this change is trying to unseat an image i've held for 19 years.

The Plot

As you can gather from above, the general gist is there but the execution is fairly inaccurate. Disney defanged this series to an almost ugly degree. They will work with the military industrial complex for Marvel, but not allow a 12 year old to kidnap a woman for ransom to find his missing father? Ugh!

There's a bit with a side character and the villain that was in book 2. I don't give a shit about the side character, so i'll pass on that.

Did you know that Eoin Colfer didn't mind the changes? Of course, there are challenges that come with adapting a book over 20 goddamn years, so maybe he was just happy to finally be done with it and slap it on a screen.

First - This is not necessarily based on books 1 and 2. This has the bones of the first movie, with a plot thread from the 2nd, and the villain of the 2nd's B-Plot, and a wholly original MacGuffin.

Artemis Fowl I (Colin Farrell, right) and Artemis Fowl II (Ferdia Shaw, center)

I don't want to shit on this little kid. I'll put it like this;

Acting like the real Artemis Fowl II: Capable. Not fabulous, but it comes from him so clearly being a child. He simply doesn't look cold enough. Imagine if this movie had been made in a timely manner. We could have had Asa Butterfield!

Acting like this imposter: It's cringeworthy. There's a scene where he walks into the kitchen to see his father is missing and starts throwing a tantrum. I know, actually having his father in his life means he will react differently, but it's just hilarious for the absolutely wrong reasons. There are chunks of the movie that just don't have him in there, and you really wonder ... what the hell happened?

Colin Farrell is Colin Farrell.

Josh Gad as Mulch Diggums

Far and away the best character in this entire shtick. I'd tolerate a sequel to this if it skipped to book #5, "The Lost Colony", where he has a much bigger role.
Also props to the costuming and hairstyling department for making Gad look better as a dwarf than he does as a human being.
Don't clown me, ONTD.

Tamara Smart and Nonso Anozie as Juliet and Domovoi Butler
Thanks for making them black, because hey, we liked these books too, but no thanks @ nerfing Juliet. She's still a kickass character...although, in retrospect, both she and Butler do next to jack shit against the troll. In the books, Butler dons some ancient armor and fights the troll in the parlor with a goddamn mace. Honestly, that fight is shit, everyone's either out of action, screaming, or running away from the Warcraft-extra-esque troll.

Judi Dench as Commander Root.
Yes, changing the gender of the character does essentially erase Holly's entire arc about being the only female LEPrecon officer. She growls and rowls and looks considerably better than she did in "Cats", so that's a win. She has a sizeable role as Artemis' opponet during the siege on Fowl Manor.
Lara McDonnell as Holly Short

Movie! Holly is probably the most accurate character on the screen....besides being whitewashed, turned into a child, hinted at with a romance to Artemis, and having her non-existant father shoved in as a friend to AF I to pass along the MacGuffin to.

God, when you put it like all that...she's still the most accurate in .....personality.

They even keep her first mission where she saves a group of Italian wedding goers from a rampaging troll. This movie should have been titled and focued around Holly, and then it hits you that this is the adaptation of a once-popular children's book series.

I'm not bothering to search for a screencap of Opal Koboi. She's the villain. She's in shadow most of the damn time. This is a disservice to her character, who was, frankly, the baddest bitch in the game. She was a fucking genius and the second smartest person in the series. SHE CLONED HERSELF. She raised an army of fallen elfin warriors in her attempt to take over the human world!

I'm also not bothering with Foaly, who was interesting and personable, just not in the movie enough.

Fowl Manor looks like shit. The interior decorating is atrocious. They have a tiny television on a stool in the kitchen. What kind of rich ancestral home is this?

The actual visuals, the CGI design, I think it looks great.

Someone probably used some unknown distro of Linux and stuck it on a computer ot make this lmao.

The 1 of 3 action scenes (What is this, "Fantastic Four" 2015?) at around the 45 minute mark is shot in a dynamic and fun way.

Did anyone else realize that it took 20 years for Artemis Fowl to be a movie, but only like 3 for Eragon? Who even remembers Eragon!

Shaw would probably be a way better Darren Shan in those movies than an Artemis here.

On a scale of "A Monster Calls" (Great, everyone should watch it) to "Cirque Du Freak" (Let's pretend it doens't exist), where does "Artemis Fowl" fall?

It's better than CDF, and I'm at a loss if it's better than "Percy Jackson". It borders on almost competently made and almost has engaging characters, so  I can rate it higher than "Eragon". It's not as good as any "Harry Potter" movie, and doesn't come close to "A Monster Calls".

A solid 3.4. It's sitting around that on Metacritic as well.

Some news publication should really do a write up on how this went so far off the rails. Why was the story changed in the 18months between trailers? It won't be like Lucasfilm and Star Wars, where the behind the scenes drama is much more interesting than any of the modern movies, but it would be worth reading.

source: 2 out of 5 senses (hearing, sight), Disney+, links in posts where appropriate, and, very loosely, the books by Eoin Colfer.
Tags: disney, ontd original, review

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