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'Artemis Fowl': Movie Review

Movieguide Magazine


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ARTEMIS FOWL follows 12-year-old Artemis Fowl in his pursuit to find his father, who’s gone missing after reports surface that he’s an international thief. Despite some engaging parts, the storyline of ARTEMIS FOWL feels rushed, and the movie has a mixed worldview where moral elements stressing protection, a father’s love for his son and friendship are clouded by false occult elements stressing magic and its “infinite power.”

The movie begins as reporters surround Fowl Manor in Ireland. Cut to MI-6, the British spy agency. Mulch Diggums (Josh Gad) undergoes questioning about Artemis Fowl, Sr., but he insists that the story should really follow Senior’s 12-year-old son, Artemis Fowl, Jr.

Artemis Fowl, Jr. is brilliant. At this point in his life, he’s cloned a goat and is capable of spotting fake antiques from a mile away. You could say it runs in the family.

However, Artemis has a hard time getting along with people due to his Brainiac ways and observations which makes him a misfit. At home, though, Artemis thrives with his father’s gadgets and antique collection, since he’s an antique specialist. Artemis wants his father to do less business and spend more time with him instead. Senior (Colin Farrel) is diligent about teaching his son about magic and mystical creatures that he believes to be true, in anticipation that Artemis Jr., will need to know about them.

One morning, after Senior leaves on a business trip, he winds up missing news reports saying he’s is bigtime thief. Meanwhile, Artemis discovers his father has a private collection of antiques that actually protect other worlds, and he hatches a master plan to clear his father’s name and bring him back home safely. Artemis involves the help of Domovoi Butler, a trusted advisor of Senior’s, who’s able to be an extra helping hand. Butler enlists the help of his niece, Juliet, too.

Meanwhile, in the fairy world underneath the earth’s surface, things are going awry. The Aculos, which is essential for the protection of the magical community, isn’t in its proper place. Supposedly, Artemis, Sr. took it, but it’s nowhere to be found. Holly Short, an 84-year-old fairy soldier who appears to look more like a child than 84 years old, gets commissioned by Commander Root (Dame Judi Dench) to do something to help. Later, the movie reveals that she’s also trying to clear her father’s name, just like Artemis.

Holly fulfills her orders to Commander Root, but she deviates from the plan and flies to a tree in Ireland, where Artemis and Butler stand ready to take her to Fowl Manor for questioning. They do just that, and Artemis thinks he’s one step closer to finding out the truth and locating the Aculos.

Commander Root requests that Mulch Diggums, an imprisoned con-artist who considers himself to be a very tall dwarf, to help the fairies pursue Artemis Fowl. After bargaining for a lesser prison sentence, Diggums makes his way to the Earth’s surface to lend a helping hand. Much to the fairies’ surprise, all the events seem to be working in accordance to Artemis, Jr.’s plan.

Will things work out for Artemis, his father and friends?

ARTEMIS FOWL’s storyline is sort of SPY KIDS meets A WRINKLE IN TIME where a child protagonist has to save the day. Kenneth Branagh, who’s directed such Disney movies as CINDERELLA (2015) and THOR, uses beautiful imagery and captivating shots, including two cool slow-motion action sequences. However, the movie falls short in terms of structure and feels a bit rushed, which makes it hard for viewers to really empathize with the characters. Also, if it weren’t for Josh Gad’s character as the narrator, ARTEMIS FOWL would be immensely more confusing than it already is.

ARTEMIS FOWL has a mixed worldview with moral elements stressing protection, a father’s love for his son and friendship, but it’s clouded by occult elements with an emphasis on magic and its “infinite power.” Also, in one scene young Artemis affirms Steven Hawkins’ atheist theory of time, but that’s as far as filmmakers go with science. Instead of science, the movie extols intelligence in conjunction with magic and technology.

MOVIEGUIDE® advises that impressionable children and even adults should avoid ARTEMIS FOWL. The only thing or person with infinite power is God, and He warns us about fooling around with magic, witchcraft and sorcery in His Word, the Bible.

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About The Author

MOVIEGUIDE® was founded in 1985 by Dr. Ted Baehr, past president of the Episcopal Radio & Television Foundation and former director of the Television Center at the City University of New York. MOVIEGUIDE® is affiliated with the Christian Film & Television Commission® ministry (CFTVC). Both MOVIEGUIDE® and CFTVC are dedicated to redeeming the values of the entertainment industry, according to biblical principles, by influencing industry executives and artists and by informing and educating the public about the influence of the entertainment media and about how to train their families to become