In today’s lecture titled “When Disney Films Go Wrong,” I present “Artemis Fowl,” a wholly unredeemable mess of a movie from director Kenneth Branagh. The studio dumped this trash heap on Disney+, and even the home streaming platform is far more than it deserves. There’s very little magic in this CGI-heavy family film, and it’s more of a yawn-fest than the engrossing adventure it obviously aspired to be.
Based on the first two books in author Eoin Colfer’s wildly popular children’s fantasy series, “Artemis Fowl” tells the ho-hum story of adolescent criminal genius Artemis (Ferdia Shaw), an annoying kid who captures vicious fairy Holly Short (Lara McDonnell) at her underground world in an attempt to harness the magical powers needed to rescue his dad (Colin Farrell). There isn’t much more to the plot than this, and the whole thing reeks of a grossly subpar “Harry Potter” rip-off. Even the story’s narrator, the oversized dwarf Mulch Diggums (Josh Gad), is a dead ringer for Hagrid.
The cast ranges from irritating and distracting (Shaw, McDonnell) to really talented actors who probably should’ve known better than to accept their roles for a Disney payday (Farrell, Gad, Judi Dench).
The movie gets progressively worse as it sputters along and, just when you think the film can’t sink any lower, a fabulously “wtf?!?” scene arrives where Diggums unhinges his jaw, scoops up dirt at a rapid pace, and poops it right on out of his rear end.
To be honest, I’d rather have watched that scene on a loop for the full 94 minutes rather than this substandard junk.