VOD REVIEW: Artemis Fowl an uninspired dud

It’s one thing to miss the mark on a film with a regular budget.

But when a 200 million, CGI-laden Disney film like Artemis Fowl falls flat, well, we call that a fiasco.

With a stacked cast, some really insightful material to adapt from, and the huge Disney conglomerate behind it, this should have been a bombastic hit.

What we’re left with is a soulless, superficial fantasy film that — somewhere along the line — forgot to sprinkle some magic into the proceedings.

The story of a young criminal prodigy hunting a secret society of fairies to rescue his captured father is rife with stilted dialogue, miscast actors and incomprehensible, lazy writing.

The plotting is a mess, and it’s hard to tell frame-to-frame what the heck is even going on. Director Kenneth Branagh has brought Shakespeare to the screen ad the five-time Oscar nominee has a certain pedigree.

From the recent Murder On The Orient Express remake to Henry V and Thor, he’s shown he can juggle blockbusters and art films alike. But there’s zero showmanship here, and that’s a huge letdown.

It would be unfair to lay all the blame on first-time actor — and young star — Ferdia Shaw in his debut as young Artemis, but to see the thespians around him blunder so badly shows of anyone, he deserves another chance.

The only star who tries to leave his range is a growling Josh Gad, who grunts his way through the proceedings as an oversized dwarf. It never entirely works, but points for at least attempting something new.

Judi Dench scores another stinker of a role as a fairy commander here, and overacts once again. It’s better than CGI Cats, but she needs to find her way back to prestige, and soon.

Colin Farrell — a favourite of mine — plays Artemis Sr., and is given about 15 minutes total screen-time. One wishes they might have utilized him a bit more.

This one claims the midway-2020 crown for most disappointing film of the year.

In the end, Artemis Fowl has no panache, and it’s just an uninspired, tonally messy failure, where it’s clear everyone could have put in a bit more effort.

1.5/5 Stars

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