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Film review: Artemis Fowl

PUBLISHED: 13:16 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:16 12 June 2020

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl

Archant

Disney’s latest adaptation of a successful book series is like Harry Potter except nothing actually happens

Artemis FowlArtemis Fowl

I don’t want to be delivering a lecture on white privilege but, seriously, how does Kenneth Branagh keep getting work in the movies? He’s good in the theatre apparently, and he did a good Hamlet once, but there hasn’t been a memorable role on the big screen while the 17 films he’s directed have ranged from alright (Thor, Jack Ryan) to god awful (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Sleuth) to Shakespeare. Now he’s overseen an Artemis most foul.

An adaptation of (yet another) series of successful books, this starts with an interesting premise: a pre-teen Moriarty (Shaw), conducting his villainous schemes from an Irish clifftop mansion outside school time. But after ten minutes it gives up on that and just does Harry bloody Potter again with legions of pixies and fairies.

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Fans of Eoin Colfer’s books are enraged that Artemis has been softened for the big screen. Viewers who haven’t read them will wonder why the film seems to be 90 minutes of exposition, chiefly delivered by Josh Gad as Hagrid telling the story in flashback from a police cell. But the story he’s telling mostly involves people telling other people what is going on; which wouldn’t be so bad, except nothing actually happens. The screen is cluttered with movement and activity yet it’s entirely static: the last half is a siege. Everybody rushing around, getting nowhere.

Artemis FowlArtemis Fowl

2/5 stars.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Starring: Ferdia Shaw, Colin Farrell, Judy Dench, Josh Gad, Nonso Anozio and Lara McDonnell. Now streaming on Disney +.

Running time: 95 mins.


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