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YMMV / Artemis Fowl

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The first book deliberately aims for this by making sure that every time Artemis does the right thing, he can explain it away as Pragmatic Villainy. The psychiatrist who narrates the book argues that Artemis is a sociopath (though admittedly not a standard case by any sense of the imagination), and warns of the tendency to view him as more noble than he really is. Later books make him more of a hero, though.
    • Him becoming a hero is explicitly stated to be character development. In The Eternity Code, just before the mind wipe, he says that he might become the monster seen at the start of the series. The next book reveals that he was right.
  • Anvilicious: Book 6: Go green, and you'll save the krakens, stop poisoning fairies with Spelltrophy, and keep the world from dying. Plus, Artemis Sr. puts emission filters on every vehicle they own, including the jet and helicopter. Though the series has dropped environmental anvils all over the place since its beginning.
  • Ass Pull: Eoin either loves this trope or owes it money.
    • Technology of the series doesn't appear to have any consistency: numerous vital plot points happened just because fairy technology happens to be capable to do something we weren't informed of or has a limitation never brought up before.
    • One short story in the companion book is set in the period between the first and the second book, aka when Artemis was still a egotistic criminal mastermind and Mulch was believed to be dead by the LEP. Holly goes to stop Mulch in his tracks, but she's met him before and her knowing he's actually alive would contradict established continuity... Well, let's make him wear a mask! Voice? Did we mention all the dwarves' voices are exactly the same and even the dwarves themselves can't tell one from another? Because now they are.
    • Dwarf biology can generally be relied upon to produce one new secret trump card for Mulch to get out of trouble with each book.
    • Magic has a bunch of new rules too: Grease is toxic for people with magic in them, animal glands can be extracted to enhance one's magical abilities, runes only need one spark to do something powerful wizards can't and mesmerizing on the fair folk works except when it doesn't.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The first book mentions that Butler's family are all trained at a school in Israel but Butler later remembers something from the Swiss academy. Eternity Code explains that the school moves every five years and that Butler spent the first few years in Israel until it moved to Switzerland.
    • Mulch somehow uses the Gift Of Tongues to talk to some dogs in Arctic Incident even though he's lost his magic. Lost Colony handwaves this by saying both Mulch and Doodah Day each have a spark of magic left that lets them use the gift. Sadly this is contradicted by Atlantis Complex that says Bobb Ragby can't use the Gift since he lost his magic and Mulch implies he had to learn English.
  • Complete Monster: Artemis Fowl and Holly Short have faced various deadly foes with these being the worst:
    • Opal Koboi is a genius pixie who desires to become "empress of the world". Opal before the series became head of her father's company by driving him insane and having him and her mother locked in an insane asylum. Organizing the Goblin rebellion alongside Briar Cudgeon, Opal took advantage of their violent nature to cause an uprising, while all along planning to betray them. To escape prison after being arrested, Opal creates a clone, not caring it will die easily and cannot think for itself, allowing her to manipulate it. Killing Holly's mentor, Julius Root, by having a bomb strapped to him and then cruelly tricking Holly into detonating it, Opal then frames her for it and Mind Rapes a kind-hearted humanitarian, forcing him to send a probe into the Earth and reveal the Faerie people, hoping to cause a war behind humans and Faeries. Opal is also revealed to have experimented on and killed endangered animals to make herself more powerful. In the final book, Opal murders her own past version of herself when the past version of her was trying to free the present Opal from prison, which causes all products produced by her company to explode, with planes crashing and global communications cutting off. Finally, Opal manipulates the ghosts of dead Faeries to Kill All Humans and take over the surface world. A thoroughly childish woman dedicated to getting whatever she wants regardless of innocent lives lost, Opal is Artemis's greatest and most evil enemy.
    • Lost Colony: The demon Leon Abbot, real name N'Zall, was a bellicose proponent of demonkind's war with mankind even when it meant certain extinction for their race. Sabotaging a ritual by the demonic warlocks to save their people to kill the warlocks, Abbot returns to the demons, pretending to be a saviour while brainwashing the masses into thinking they were resuming their war with humanity, with Abbot instead using it as a ruse to keep them under his control. Savagely torturing any who show opposition to his power, Abbot remains apathetic even when Artemis and his allies reveal that Abbot's methods will lead to the destruction of his dimension. Causing the extinction of his people before time is reversed, Abbot again tries to kill the heroes even after being brought back to life, endlessly bitter and power-hungry.
  • Creepy Awesome: Artemis is a generally frightening person, even after his Heel–Face Turn, and Butler is even more so. They're still awesome to read about.
  • Die for Our Ship: Depending on whether you ship Hartemis or Artemin, either Minerva Paradizo or Holly.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Trouble has become quite popular, thanks in part to his Hero of Another Story status and rampant badassery.
    • Unix of The Atlantis Complex also has a small following.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Many who have read the later books complain about the heavy-handed environmentalist themes and messaging, but the books have had such content from the beginning and it wasn't particularly subtle there either (the very first book has Holly deliver a Character Filibuster about humanity's environmental degradation in her Inner Monologue). However, it was more tolerated early on because it was used to help establish redeeming qualities Artemis had note  and flesh out the fairies and their culture note  and never overshadowed the actual narrative. In later books, though, the messaging grew increasingly prominent and started impacting the plot in ways that were impossible to ignore. One infamously polarizing and widely-criticized element of The Time Paradox was the Extinctionists, a group of anti-environmentalist strawmen many readers commented felt more like something out of a gritty Captain Planet reboot than an Artemis Fowl book, while The Atlantis Complex opened with Artemis giving a lecture about the negative effects of Global Warming. Things really reached a fever pitch in The Last Guardian, which has a good deal of modern technology, both human and fairy, get destroyed and replaced with green alternatives, with the story glossing over the catastrophic consequences of said destruction in favor of celebrating that environmentally-friendly tech is now the norm. Because of all this, the later books in the series are frequently dogged by criticism that the "go green" moral was in competition for prominence with the plot to the detriment of both.
  • Genius Bonus: The cryptography puzzles along the bottom of each book (and on the book covers) are more of a Patience Bonus, but there are little references throughout the book that just make it so much more fun if you happen to know them, or realize what they meant three years later.
  • Inferred Holocaust: In The Last Guardian, a good chunk of technology, both human and fairy, ceases to function. This leads to chaos on both ends, but the humans bare the brunt of it as cities darken, people loot, medical equipment is useless, and airplanes fall from the sky. Nobody particularly dwells on this, and the narrator considers this a good thing. Not to mention all of the people in cities who will starve to death because they can't get food shipped in, submariners who are trapped in steel tombs miles beneath the waves, miners stuck in shafts with no way out, and anybody on a boat, who will be most likely stranded in the middle of the ocean. The book also stated that anything connected to Opal Koboi, exploded, which includes most of our modern technology, such as pacemakers. But hey, at least people aren't distracted by TV anymore! Though this is possibly justified: the narrator ends up being Holly Short, a fairy, so it makes sense as to how she wouldn't dwell on the human deaths.
  • It Was His Sled: Butler's first name became quite well-known.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Artemis Fowl II himself is a teenage criminal mastermind and heir to the illustrious Fowl Crime family. A true Evil Genius, Artemis exploits a law of the fairies to force them to give him gold by kidnapping one of their agents, Holly Short and holding off their siege for a full day, outwitting them the whole while. In the second book, Artemis convinces LEPrecon agent Holly Short to begin trusting him and aids in dismantling a conspiracy headed by Opal Koboi and her partner Briar Cudgeon, with Artemis' revelation causing the enraged Opal to kill Cudgeon for his planned treachery. Saving his father from the mob by faking killing and then reviving him, Artemis later outplays a brutal Arms Dealer, tricking the man into letting him be attacked by the fairies. After claiming his prize, Artemis even circumvents his own ordered mind wiping, having an ally of his store his memories to be stored and returned to him later on. Even in his eventual turn to good, Artemis remains an intelligent and suave gentleman, now using his skills to protect the fey from harm and going from one of their greatest enemies to their greatest ally.
    • Mulch Diggums is a renowned master thief. Recruited to infiltrate Fowl Manor for a reduced prison sentence, Mulch breaks in and acquires hidden information, before faking his death and escapes with stolen gold. Restarting his life as human millionaire Lance Digger, he is recruited to break into Koboi Industries and is rewarded a "two day head start". Taking the identity of expert infiltrator "Mo Diggence", he is ordered to capture Artemis, but instead assists the heroes in bypassing Spiro's high-tech security. Returning to custody, Mulch escapes after Holly is framed for murdering Commander Root. Getting himself recaptured, he persuades his interrogator to let him steal a shuttle and rescues Holly and Artemis. Mulch boards Opal's ship and relocates her explosive charges, tricking Opal into detonating her own ship and reforms after being pardoned of his crimes.
    • "LEPrecon" & The Atlantis Complex: Turnball Root is the criminal older brother of Commander Julius Root. Extorting information from a LEP officer with a deadly spider, Turnball then captures Holly Short during her LEP initiation to use her as bait for Julius, setting up a backup trap when his scheme with Holly fails. Incarcerated after defiantly trying to kill himself to evade capture, Turnball regains his magic in prison and brainwashes a guard into giving him a computer to hack a LEP space probe. Using the probe to break out of prison while eliminating any witnesses and evidence, Turnball tries to force the heroes into helping him restore youth to his dying human wife and when she chooses to end her own life, Turnball gracefully opts to die with her.
  • Memetic Mutation: In-universe in The Fowl Twins where an ACRONYM guard uploads footage of Beckett and Lazuli's fight with the guards to the internet where it inspired a movie called Tiny Ghost Ninjas of Xanadu and a line of "Are Those Monkeys?" T shirts.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Early in, Holly Short has a Character Filibuster denouncing sewage treatment as a horrible violation of Mother Earth, inspiring Fridge Horror in readers familiar with modern Germ Theory. However, the filibuster wasn't something the reader was supposed to agree with but rather a demonstration of Blue-and-Orange Morality. The fact that elves think putting your restroom indoors is unhygienic was supposed to reinforce this.
  • Spiritual Licensee: "Shadowrun for kids" is a relatively common way to refer to these series, though they noticeably don't go as far in the Cyberpunk direction.
  • Squick: The description of dwarves. They can eat dirt and pass it through their digestive system quickly - and have gas powerful enough to propel them through tunnels. Disney kept this aspect in for their film adaptation.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Turnbull got a Cry for the Devil moment before dying with his beloved wife, but the guy has the highest bodycount after Opal, brainwashed people and was first introduced torturing an officer for another petty scheme. The only reason why Artemis would say he can't see him as a villain is because he was unaware of most of it because he was too busy guilt-tripping. Even his relationship with his wife isn't that great when you keep in mind he brainwashed her into staying with him forever.
  • The Un-Twist: In the first chapter of The Last Guardian, Dr. Argon ominously wonders if it is really possible that Artemis has been cured of the Atlantis Complex in record time. He has, and the only thing we hear of the Complex for the rest of the book are a few fleeting mentions.

  • Accidental Nightmare Fuel: Mulch showing off his digging skills was probably supposed to be a cool demonstration of his abilities, but the massive loads of creepiness as he stretches his jaw to inhuman proportions as well as his borderline feral expression as he's digging through the dirt ended up creeping out a ton of viewers.
  • Award Snub: Despite being pretty much universally panned by critics; fans and non-fans alike—and considered one of the worst movies of 2020 at that too, the film somehow didn't garner a Razzie nomination for Worst Picture.
  • Designated Hero: The film adapts the first two books, in which Artemis was a Villain Protagonist before transitioning to a hero later on in the series; however, this version insists on acting like he's the guy we should be rooting for, creating dissonance as he still does several morally ambiguous actions in the film. It really doesn't help that Kenneth Branagh, without a trace of irony, compared his character arc with Michael Corleone.
  • Fan Nickname: "Guts Man Mulch" for the version of Josh Gad that appears in the infamous "feeding time" scene.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Artemis Fowl Jr., while more heroic than his literary counterpart, remains a ruthlessly pragmatic Child Prodigy. On his quest to save his father from the villainous Opal Koboi, Artemis captures the Fairy cop Holly Short to lure out the forces of LEPRecon into a trap and threatens to expose Fairykind's existence to humanity, tricking them into assisting him to retrieve the magical item Opal demands of him. Double-crossing Opal to free his father, Artemis deals a devastating blow to her organization and ends the film hunting for her.
  • Narm:
    • When Artemis watches a news report of his father's disappearance on TV, we're treated to an unintentionally hilarious shot of him dropping a giant bottle of milk onto the floor out of shock, complete with slow-motion effects and a dramatic zoom in on the falling glass. Immediately afterwards, Butler charges in and has to drag a screaming Artemis out of the room to get him away from the TV, instead of simply just switching the TV off or changing the channel.
    • Josh Gad as Mulch. His voice sounds like a goofy Batman impression. There are also moments when you can hear his natural voice peek through, which becomes hilarious as it evokes memories of Olaf.
  • Narm Charm: While many reviewers have panned Gad's performance, others felt the performance added some needed levity into the film, even going so far as to say that he seemed to be only actor who understood what type of film he was actually in.
  • Signature Scene: Mulch stretching his jaw with his hands, and growling "It's feeding time" has rapidly become so on Twitter, with many accounts sharing the clip and commenting on how it seems to perfectly represent what a misfire of an adaptation the film ended up being, plus the boatloads of squick.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • All the CGI involved in realizing the time freezing scenes is pretty rough. A standout example is whenever Artemis's home is shown in a distant wide shot, which looks like it came from a cheap video game.
    • The fight scene outside the mansion (which is redone as Artemis and Butler both fighting LEP Recon in the daytime instead of Butler taking them out at night) has multiple severe editing and VFX errors, including all of the actors teleporting into totally different positions during a long shot and a stair fall stunt having a bad cut to fake a single take that puts the stunt performer in a different position between cuts.
  • Squick: Any time Mulch stretches his jaw out to dig, as the effect looks so very unnerving. The dirt fountain coming from his underwear as he digs isn't any help either.
  • Tainted by the Preview: The teaser has received a mixed reaction, with a lot of the criticisms directed at the changes from the original book that made it difficult to even say they were adapting anything. Chief among complaints is the fact that Artemis is shown as some kind of saviour of the Lower Elements from the start who hasn't done much research, as opposed to the chessmaster Villain Protagonist he was in his first adventure taking after his father (who had no involvement with them at all in the books and was truly a criminal) along with having a purely friendly relationship with Holly Short instead of their early cooperation due to their interactions in said first book involving him kidnapping her. The full trailer, released in March 2020, only intensified the criticisms. When Disney announced they would move the film to Disney+ the following month rather than push its theatrical release date back (again) in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down movie theaters worldwide, Internet commenters theorized the studio wanted to cut its losses rather than risk a Box Office Bomb after the poor reception to the trailers (especially as Mulan (2020) which was to be released first did not receive the same treatment, only being moved to the service months later when it was clear theaters wouldn't reopen en masse, and still released theatrically in regions where the service is not available).
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • As soon as the casting call described Artemis as "a friendly kid with a sunny disposition", people knew something was off. The appeal of the book was that it starred a 12-year-old Villain Protagonist, who is as ruthless as possible. Changing the character so drastically ended up alienating anyone who was already a fan to begin with.
    • Mulch being changed to a "giant dwarf", only for justifying Josh Gad, who is of average height, playing him. While they tried to make it part of his character by giving him an Adaptational Angst Upgrade and an I Just Want to Be Normal motivation, people immediately accused the studio of being lazy, since composing the shot to make a normal sized person look smaller or hiring actual people with dwarfism has been done before, which many find preferable.
    • Butler's name being revealed nonchalantly in his first few minutes of screentime. Butler in the books goes by Last-Name Basis, even for the family he worked for for decades, with his Given Name Reveal being one of the most poignant moments in the entire series. To make things worse, they tried to patch things up by saying "he doesn't like being called the Butler" when the books had the polar opposite approach.
    • Casting Dench as Root as well as making it obvious that there are multiple high-ranked female LEP officers. Many feel this undermines the dynamic that they had, as Holly's struggle still seems to remain the same.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Juliet literally just hangs around in the background for the whole movie, and it can even be hard to spot her final appearance watching Artemis from the window. This has been called one of the clearest signs of the crew's overconfidence that the film would lead to a whole franchise.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously:
    • For being his first starring role, many felt sorry for Ferdia Shaw, since it's obvious that he tried his best to give a good performance, but was bogged down by a terrible script and subpar direction. Indeed, many fans went out of their way to state that any displeasure with the films should not be taken out on the actors, and especially not Shaw.
    • The What The Hell, Casting Agency? aside, Lara McDonnell is considered one of the few who totally came out of the movie with their dignity in tact. To the point that Kenneth Branagh working with her again on Belfast totally tracks.
  • Uncertain Audience: Many critics have been left baffled as to who exactly Disney was trying to market the film to. Fans of the book series were angry at the numerous changes the film made, and non-book fans weren't interested in what seemed to be another generic Disney action movie based on a franchise they weren't familiar with.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The Gnommish runes look stunning, and the teaser trailer displays them change in 3D to 2D English in a beautiful manner.
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?: Some of the casting choices have received a mixed response.
    • Butler and Juliet receiving a Race Lift by being played by Nonzo Anozie and Tamara Smart, even though they were explicitly Eurasian in the books. Part of the negative reaction to this is due to the Butler family being cast entirely as dedicated guards, servants and aides to the Fowl line, and some felt that casting a black man for this role sent... rather negative implications. There's a second load of negative reaction in the idea that Eurasian people aren't an important enough ethnic group to be portrayed on screen.
    • Lara McDonnell as Holly Short. The actress didn't have nut-brown skin, nor was she older than Ferdia Shaw, who plays 12-year-old Artemis.
    • The most criticized is Judi Dench... as Commander Root. While Dench has already been praised in other roles beforehand, especially as an Iron Lady, people still felt that changing Root's gender kills the dynamic he and Holly shared in the books. The source material had Holly as the first female LEP Captain, Root being strict with her because of this uniqueness, and Holly herself being under a great deal of public and internal pressure to serve as a model for future female officers. Having a female Root as the already well-established leader of the LEP is largely incompatible with that particular angle, and undermines Holly's significance.