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Film / Artemis Fowl

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Criminally good.
"Our world has never been in more danger. Human greed is what drove us underground all those years ago, to escape from your rapacious appetite. I warn you, boy, you are not prepared for the truth behind what you seek. Now you will believe, Artemis Fowl."
Commander Rootnote 

Artemis Fowl is a science fiction adventure film directed by Kenneth Branagh, being an In Name Only adaptation of the book series of the same name by Eoin Colfer.

It includes the following cast members:

  • Ferdia Shaw as Artemis Fowl
  • Lara McDonnell as Captain Holly Short
  • Nonso Anozie as Butler
  • Judi Dench as Commander Root
  • Josh Gad as Mulch Diggums
  • Tamara Smart as Juliet
  • Nikesh Patel as Foaly
  • Colin Farrell as Artemis Fowl the 1st

The film was initially set for theatrical release, but in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic forcing the widespread closure of movie theatre chains, it was instead moved to Disney+ where it was released June 12, 2020. The film was subsequently removed from Disney+ in May 2023.

Previews: Teaser, Trailer.

Artemis Fowl contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • The name of the Fowl family's ship is changed from Fowl Star in the books to Owl Star here.
    • The Council from the books is renamed The Executors here.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • Holly is much more of an eager, optimistic newcomer here, compared to the rather jaded, cynical officer she was in the books.
    • Opal Koboi in the books was a vain, emotional girly-girl with interests in New Age meditation and luxury snacks, all of which masked how cruel and intelligent she was. Here, she's a raspy-voiced figure in the shadows with no personality traits but "Obviously Evil."
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the second book, Opal and Cudgeon were dating, but he planned to betray her, arguing making her more of a Doctor Girlfriend (who would outdo his villainy in later books). There's no hint of romance in the film, where he just becomes her minion.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Mulch Diggums, whose less-than-attractive looks were the source of jokes in the books, is played by Josh Gad. Note that Movie Mulch is taller than Artemis as well, and has regular sized teeth instead of the "tombstones" described in the novels.
    • Foaly, described as paunchy and ungroomed, is played by Mr. Fanservice Nikesh Patel.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Book Artemis is a Non-Action Guy extraordinaire, and didn't even think of learning combat skills until the third book (and even then Butler had to strong-arm him into it), and wasn't too fit for athletic activities. Movie Artemis is a talented surfer and skateboarder, knows his way around guns and swords, and takes part in a fight against several LEP officers and even a troll!
    • Fowl Sr. and the entire Fowl family tree get one. Instead of simply being a crime family, they have been pestering fairies for centuries.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Artemis Fowl, Sr., and Opal Koboi, two characters not introduced until the second book, are depicted in this film.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Artemis was the Villain Protagonist of the first book, kidnapping Holly just for money. Here, he's doing it to save his father's life, which makes it weird how the film still tries to pass him off as a "criminal mastermind."
    • The same goes for Artemis Sr.: in the books, he ran a criminal organization, though he was trying to go straight when he disappeared. In the movie, any illegal activity he did was part of his plan to protect the human and fairy societies.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: The wickedly beautiful and vain Opal Koboi from the books becomes a hideous shadowy creature with a guttural, rasping voice — what minor glimpses we get of the face hidden beneath her cowl are decidedly unpleasant.
  • Adaptational Wimp: ZigZagged in the case of Juliet Butler, who was a teenage badass in the books who learned a variety of deadly arts from her older brother. Here, while she is younger (and Butler's niece rather than his sister), she's still introduced engaging in kendo with Butler and established as a capable fighter. But, of the cast of heroes, she is the one who has the least to contribute during the film's climactic battle against the troll in Fowl Manor.
    • Domovoi Butler and Holly Short are much straighter examples, as the iconic scene where Butler goes toe-to-toe with a troll while armoured and wielding a mace is Adapted Out, and Holly's role in the same fight is reduced to being helplessly stuck in a chandelier.
    • Trolls, believe it or not. While the film trolls retain the height and presence of tusks, they lack the retractable claws, venomous tusks, and sheer durability of their book counterparts; all it takes to stop the troll attacking Fowl Manor is dropping a chandelier on its head.
  • Age Lift:
    • Juliet is 12, the same age as Artemis, instead of the 16-year old teenager she was in the first book.
    • Holly Short's age is given as 84, which is extremely young in fairy years, but she was decidedly a grown adult in the books (and in The Time Paradox, time travel shenanigans briefly cause her to look younger and closer to Artemis' age). Here, she doesn't appear to be much older than Artemis already physically, and has more shades of Naïve Newcomer in her personality than her more jaded self in the books' continuity.
  • Artistic License – Sports: It's mentioned that Artemis beat a chess grandmaster in five moves. While it's certainly not impossible to beat someone in chess in five moves (the "scholar's mate" is a notable four-move checkmate that can actually catch newer players on occasion), it requires the loser to make some very specific beginner's-trap moves and to completely fail to read your strategy. Though it's clearly meant to make Artemis come across as a genius, it really just makes you wonder where they found this grandmaster and whether he was being paid under the table.
  • Death by Adaptation: Unlike in the novels where she's alive throughout the whole series, Artemis's mother Angeline Fowl is dead before the events of the film have even started. The psychologist Dr. Po touches on it in the opening of the film, saying she was a lovely woman, but utterly incapable of controlling Artemis. Nothing else is said about it.
  • Everybody Lives: The film's body count is zero. Everyone that was in play at the start of the film is still in play and the only ones dead are those who were already said to be dead before the the events of the film started, specifically Artemis's mother Angeline Fowl and Holly Short's father Beechwood Short.
  • Fantastic Racism: Even Mulch Diggums's fellow dwarves refuse to accept him as one of them, despite his claims of being a "giant dwarf," or Dwarfus Giganticus. Only Commander Root actually seems to have some acceptance, telling him that a giant dwarf is exactly what she needs. At the end of the film, the MI6 interrogator shouts to him "Get back here, you filthy little dwarf!" and he shouts back "Dwarfus Giganticus!"
  • Gender Flip: The film turns the books' Commander Julius Root female, played by Dame Judi Dench, no less.
  • Glamour: Inverted in the trailer, in that the fairy Artemis contacts in Vietnam initially appears to them as old and wrinkled, and then changes to a young and beautiful appearance, and it's implied her old-looking form was the illusion, and not the young one.
  • Hellhole Prison: Howler's Peak, the most notorious and dangerous prison within Haven City. Get sent there and you can enjoy a stay in a cell filled with goblins who are capable of breathing fire and who are generally in a very mean mood. Mulch Diggums's stay in the prison is said to be his third time there, his first time having been a 164-year term.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: Embarrassingly, Holly gets her wings stuck to the chandelier at the very beginning of the troll fight in the mansion and spends almost the entire fight yelling for help.
  • I Have Your Wife: The film's events are kicked off by Opal Koboi calling the young Artemis Fowl and telling him that she has his father and if he wants him back, he has to secure the Aculos for her. At the end of the film, when Artemis doesn't bring her the Aculos, she tries to finish off Artemis Fowl Sr. with magic, but Holly Short uses the Aculos's power to bring him back to Fowl Manor before the deed can be completed.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Mulch Diggums is a "giant dwarf," or Dwarfus Giganticus, but wants desperately to be short like other dwarves.
  • Inconsistent Spelling: Mulch Diggum's last name is spelled "Diggems" on official merchandise.
  • In Name Only: The deviations from the source material, from Artemis being purely heroic and unaware of the fairy world or his family's involvement in crime rather than the Villain Protagonist and deliberate kidnapper of a fairy he was in the original source material to Commander Root's Gender Flip and more, make it hard to think of the film as anything but this. These articles go into it in depth.
    • At one point early on in the film, Artemis goes surfing. Contrast the very first page of the first book, which says "Sun did not suit Artemis", and his lack of physical strength which became something of a Running Gag throughout the series. Movie Artemis also wears jeans in one scene, something Book Artemis swore he would never do (and was repulsed by the very idea of it).
    • The entire film is being narrated by Mulch, who is being interrogated by MI6 and happily giving up secrets - which is a huge departure from the "humans must never find out about the People" rule in the books!
    • In the movie Mulch physically enlarges his lower jaw with his hands (grabbing and stretching at it in a stomach-turning manner — complete with crunching sound effects), whereas the book implied it was a matter of simply opening his mouth very wide like a snake.
    • Artemis is being raised by his father, whereas in the books his father is a Disappeared Dad and he lives with his mentally ill mother — something that drives the majority of the plot of the first and second books!
    • Butler is referred to by his first name multiple times, whereas in the books the Butlers never ever revealed their first names to their charges, the older one only ever doing so when he believed he was about to die.
    • Butler and Artemis are far more emotional than they are in the books, with Butler breaking down in tears and Artemis reacting to getting the news about his father by screaming, dropping a jug of milk and needing to be physically carried away from the television.
  • Left the Background Music On: During Holly's first battle with the troll in Italy, once time is frozen for the humans in the area, a nearby record player continues to play a mellow, classical piece while the LEP Recon team clean up the devastation caused by the battle.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: Of the Artemis Fowl book series.
  • Logo Joke: The film's trailer depicts the Disney castle in Lower Elements Police colors (dark green) and surrounded by Gnommish runes. According to this link, the runes spell out Artemis Fowl's name.
  • MacGuffin: The Aculos - a mysterious fairy object of unimaginable power that Opal Koboi demands in exchange for Artemis Fowl Sr.'s safe return.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailer implies Holly Short is working with Artemis of her own free will, possibly as a double agent. She helps him eventually but it begins as a kidnapping.
    • The trailer implies it's Artemis and his father practicing kendo. It's actually Butler and Juliet.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: The futuristic weapons seen in the hands of fairy recon troops (and Artemis) in the trailer have a perfectly rectangular shape, with convex ridges on either side being the only deviation.
  • Power Floats: In the trailer, the fairy in Vietnam floats above the ground when she starts to take on a more youthful appearance before Artemis and Butler.
  • Power Nullifier: When Briar Cudgeon sends the troll into Fowl Manor, he also activates an anti-magic field, considering Holly Short to be a traitor. Afterwards, Chix Verbil defies his orders and turns it off, allowing Holly to use her magic again and save Domovoi Butler's life.
  • Race Lift:
    • Juliet and Butler are described repeatedly as being Eurasian in the books, but are played by Black actors in the film.
    • Likewise, Holly, described as being "nut brown" and having a "coffee complexion" in the books, is played by a white actress.
  • Related Differently in the Adaptation: Juliet is Butler's niece and not his younger sister, as she was in the books.
  • Sequel Hook: The film ends with Holly Short receiving from Artemis Fowl Sr. a list of Opal Koboi's accomplices and Artemis Fowl Jr. calling Opal to tell her that she's failed and they're coming for her. The film then ends with Mulch Diggums being broken out of interrogation and Holly flying alongside the group as Artemis Fowl Jr. says that they have unfinished business.
  • Use Your Head: A troll gains entry into the Fowl house by being launched head first through the wall from a catapult.
  • Voice of the Legion: Holly Short speaks with the voice of the legion when trying to use the mesmer on Juliet Butler to get her to take off her sunglasses. Both her normal voice and a distorted, deep echoing voice can be heard atop it, reverberating, her eyes glowing yellow. It doesn't work, and Artemis appears to say as much and that they have protection. Since Short was trying to get Juliet to take off the sunglasses, Artemis is presumably referring to some sort of auditory protection.
  • What Are You in For?: Holly Short asks Mulch Diggums what he's in for this time. He tells her the truth, that it's tunneling and entering, and asks her to put in a good word for him.