Artemis Fowl Disney Movie Review

Artemis Fowl Review: You Wish You Can Unsee It

Disney’s Artemis Fowl is an awful experience of unbearable length. Even at 94 minutes, the film is a hardcore endurance test that moves cluelessly from one scene to another, having no idea what it is about. It was supposed to release in cinemas but is instead dumped on Disney Plus. Having seen the film, it is understandable why Disney didn’t care for it, despite its massive budget ($125 Million). 

Based on the best selling YA novels, like Harry PotterArtemis Fowl tells the story of a 12-year old kid, who is the heir of a family of criminal masterminds. He lives with his father, Artemis Fowl Sr. (Colin Farrell), who has been keeping him away from the world of wrongdoing. 

Colin Farrell Artemis Fowl

Once his father gets captured by an evil fairy, who wants to reclaim an artifact, the kid is compelled to step up and make things normal again.

There are a total of 8 Artemis Fowl novels, and all of them received significant acclaim. A movie adaptation was, hence, inevitable. Yet, it took a long time to happen.

The first script was tossed in the early 2000s, but it underwent constant changes and was passed from one filmmaker to another. The result is a tremendously messy film that falls flat in all departments, principally, in the casting.

On paper, reading the names of Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Colin Farrell may give a good impression. However, all of them are miscast, and as an overkill, their performances are also pretty terrible.

The worst part, pityingly, is the lead actor: Ferdia Shaw. It is a role that could have made him an overnight star. Sadly, his performance only makes you feel resentful for the casting director for choosing him.

Ferdia Shaw Artemis Fowl

There isn’t a single scene where you connect with his character. His range remains limited to either pretending to be extremely smart or a sappy loner. There are a few other actors as well, and they are all unconvincing. The biggest disappointment, though, comes through the director.

As a filmmaker, Kenneth Branagh, has done remarkable work in the past. Be it the audacious Hamlet (1996), the Shakespearean Thor (2011), or Disney’s own Cindrella (2014). His films have showcased his talent in luxuriating the details and creating an arresting atmosphere.

This film, shockingly, is bereft of any moment that I can call Branagh-ish. It flows in a continuously haphazard manner, with some of the most embarrassing exposition ever done in a film.


The film heavily suffers from Disney’s absurd formula of shortening the duration to make the pace frenetic. This trick worked well for films like Aladdin, for it never allowed the audience to sit back and focus on the blunders.

Here, though, it does precisely the opposite. It bombards the prolonged information of the book through heavy-duty exposition. As a result, there is neither a proper beginning nor any buildup. You wish the editor had permeated longer, calmer scenes to let the viewers become emotionally involved.

The film, for instance, had the opportunity to establish the world of fairies. But the script and the hodgepodge editing never allows it to be fully comprehensible.

Lara McDonnell Shorty Artemis Fowl

As I watched those scenes, I instantly thought of James Wan’s fantastic work in Aquaman. Even though he did not share every detail of Atlantis, there was enough to understand it. Besides, the scenery was phenomenal. Branagh failed to depict both the grandiosity of the fairy world, and the intricacies that make it different from what we have seen in similar films.

Ultimately, Artemis Fowl is a shoddy adaptation. It will make the devoted readers of the book severely angry while making the non-readers question the story’s reputation.

It is streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar, and I do not recommend you to see it.

Rating: 0 / 5

Interestingly, the trailer has multiple scenes that were not in the film. I wonder if it was shot unscripted for the sake of advertising. What do you think? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

Mayank Nailwal
Passionate about films & filmmaking since 2002.
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