Artemis Fowl: Time To Believe | That Haphazardly Shredded Chunks of Story Does Not Make a Good Movie

Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Cinderella) and based on – not really – inspired by – nop – dressed as the beloved books by Eoin Colfer. The film stars Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Tamara Smart, Nonzo Anozie, with Josh Gad, and Judi Dench. The screenplay is by Conor McPherson and Hamish McColl.

Premise: Artemis Fowl II (Ferdia Shaw), a young Irish criminal mastermind, kidnaps the fairy LEPrecon officer Captain Holly Short (Lara McDonnell) for ransom to fund the search for his missing father in order to restore the family fortune. – no that’s book 1, let’s try again – ARTEMIS FOWL: Time To Believe follows 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl, a descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, as he finds himself in a battle of strength and cunning against a powerful, hidden race of fairies who may be behind his father’s disappearance – close enough.

Review: The teaser trailer for this film gave me goosebumps because the voice over and some of the scenes showed in it reminded me of that first book. I was excited and really curious to see the film, never did I consider at the time who – the company – was making this film. I guess the first warning sign was with the boy they cast Ferdia Shaw. He’s a sweet faced boy that in hindsight, I could not imagine being an antagonist. Besides between the teaser trailer and the trailer there was extensive delays, which make me think that they changed the story somehow.

It’s evident that they Disney-fied – in all the wrong ways – Artemis’ story. You might ask Disney-fied in what way? First, the mom is dead – because a living mom in a children movie is unthinkable, or a depressed absentee mom is not a good Disney look. Her death makes it unlikely that he’ll have his little twin brothers later on.

They present Artemis as very smart, arrogant and cool headed but barely 15 minutes in he loses his cool letting his emotions run amuck. It became apparent to me then that the boy would be inconsistent. I had to pause, let this wash over me, and then tried to understand what F happened? Was it a previous script that Conor McPherson and Hamish McColl merge with Artemis Fowl, putting an Artemis Fowl coat on it? Because one or bith of them f’d up. I suspect McColl because last I checked, only McPherson was mentioned as screenwriter. I’m trying to point fingers but I want to understand. If you put the book aside it’s a still bad movie with interesting visuals.

I understand that the original story might have made Disney – and their test audiences – sweat. A genius tween, with a vanished father and a mom with crippling depression, that ends up kidnapping a tween-looking fairy girl to get rich might not be a story they’d be 100% comfortable with. Looking at the teaser trailer and the trailer you can tell that a course correction was made. I understand the need for change, in fact there’s a kernel of a decent idea in the mess the movie was.

So what to do? You can cry about how they might have ruined the beloved books for the general public, you can also look at Artemis Fowl: Time To Believe as a case study in movie making. Debating what creative and business decisions lead to the movie we’ve gotten? How a compagny’s image throttle the core idea of a book? The dissertation proposal are plenty.

Or you be like me, comforted by the fact that someone – whether they’ve read the book or not, like the movie or not – might see this film and be encouraged / inspired to be creative. Because for the first time, in a long time, I want to re-write a movie; I’m actually thinking about it.

Rating: 3 out of 10.

I strongly recommend to check out or just get the books here: US | EU | UK


4 thoughts on “Artemis Fowl: Time To Believe | That Haphazardly Shredded Chunks of Story Does Not Make a Good Movie

  1. I had the same thing, I loved the Teaser trailer But the trailer turned me off of the movie. I knew they had changed way too much, plus when I saw Colin Farrell I knew that they’d try to work him in more which would change the story a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In hindsight, we should have known Disney knew this movie was bad when they put it on Disney+ instead of waiting out the covid-19. It’s a shame, we probably won’t get to see his adventures in live action for a while.


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