Julien Neaves, Editor
As a film reviewer I try to watch a lot of movies, but I’m not able to watch the hundreds of films that come out each year, and that’s just in the US. But you know what, I am still declaring fantasy Sci Fi crapfest Artemis Fowl as the worst of 2020, because I HATE THIS MOVIE and I am not sure anything could have been worse than this flashy dumpster fire.
The film, based on the 2001 novel of the same name, tells the story of the titular 12-year-old boy who comes into conflict with a secret world of elves and fantastical creatures in a quest to save his father.
Artemis Fowl is one of those rare films where absolutely nothing works. The plot moves so quickly it will give you whiplash, constantly throwing new characters, plot lines, technology and lore at the viewer’s face like bugs crashing onto a windshield. The plot is both overly complicated and yet insultingly simple, collapsing under the weight of its internal logic (and just logic in general) as well as its avalanche of cliches. The use of uninspired, lacklustre CGI is ubiquitous and this is probably meant to distract from the film’s litany of shortcomings (SPOILER ALERT, it doesn’t work). The “comedy” elements are narcoleptic and I snickered just once in the almost two hour runtime. Now the movie has a director in Kenneth Branagh, and his films are mostly serviceable if not outstanding, but here it feels like he was directing on autopilot while rereading Twelfth Night for the twelfth time.
Lead Ferdia Shaw delivers with all the charisma of drywall and his wooden delivery of his unwieldy lines made my ears want to plug themselves. And the character comes off more like an arrogant little bastard than a supposed genius nor criminal mastermind. And mind you he probably committed two whole crimes for the entire film and his “genius” is actually just a mix of plot convenience and contrivance.
Even worse than the foul Fowl is the phoned-in performances by veteran actors Colin Farrell and Judi Dench as Artemis Sr and Elf Commander Root respectively. I truly felt embarrassed for them as they had to deliver some of the most robotic dialogue ever spoken onscreen. No one can make lines like, “Get the four-leaf clover out of here” work, not even an Academy-Award-winning actress like Dench. Josh Gad is here too but he seems to be enjoying giving overblown narration and his hammiest performance to date. The only one who seems to be actually trying is Lara McDonnell as elf officer Holly Short, but she is still stuck in a cesspit of a film.
The film’s greatest sin (and it has many) is one of the most anticlimactic endings in film history, followed by a big stinking bucket of sequel bait. Seriously? You all didn’t even deserve this movie, and you want a sequel? Well, I want my almost two hours back. Man, four-leaf clover this film. You see? I can’t make it work either.
Julien’s Score: 1 out of 10
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Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.
I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter and talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.