Artemis Fowl is based off a series of best-selling young adult novels. It combines high tech with mythological creatures led by a kid who’s a criminal mastermind. This should be a slam-dunk, but Kenneth Branagh‘s adaptation is a chore. I’m not exactly sure where this movie went so wrong, whether it was at a script level or in its reshoots, but the result is a movie that goes pretty much nowhere, and I mean that literally.

For a film that teased some globetrotting adventure and a wild journey, Artemis Fowl is largely a siege picture with most of the action confined to Fowl Manor. While it’s an impressive set, more attention was clearly paid to the production design than anything resembling a three-dimensional character or a lived-in relationship. All Artemis Fowl has to offer is hollow plotting and bad VFX. Even as a film that’s available as part of a Disney+ subscription, you would be hard pressed to endure this joyless slog.

Artemis Fowl Jr. (Ferdia Shaw) is the genius son of antiquities dealer Artemis Fowl Sr. (Colin Farrell). When a mysterious figure kidnaps Papa Fowl, the ransom is a mystical doodad called the Aoculus, which belongs to the faeries who live underground and whose society is defined by law enforcement and nothing else. To get the Aoculus, Artemis does a kidnapping of his own, and takes a young fairy officer named Holly Short (Lara McDonnell), which is all part of Artemis’ plan to use the fairy forces to get him what he wants and save his dad.

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