Disney's Artemis Fowl might've kicked off a franchise had the film adaptation of the first two books of Eoin Colfer's children's fantasy series been at all well-received. Instead, the big-budget movie about a 12-year-old son of a criminal mastermind with a lot of secrets has a dismal 13% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, leaving critics with no doubt as to why it's debuting Friday on Disney+. Five harsh takes:
- "Artemis Fowl is finally here, and boy are you going to be disappointed," reads the headline of Kevin Crust's review at the Los Angeles Times. "Anyone looking for entertaining young-adult fantasy adventure might as well move along," he elaborates. "There's nothing to see here."
- It's "bland and incoherent, with paper-thin character development, unimaginative world building, and a lot of daddy issues," according to Roxana Hadadi at AV Club. "The only interesting thing about this irritatingly smug and cheaply campy adaptation is how uninterested it is in its own source material," she adds, claiming it "just dully swipes from the Hunger Games and X-Men franchises."
- It's an "unruly disaster, a potential franchise that shows up dead on arrival," writes Adam Graham at Detroit News. Sure, it's easy on the eyes. But "there are Shakespeare monologues easier to digest than this convoluted story."
- In the best-selling book series, Artemis Fowl is a "12-year-old criminal mastermind." Here, the "title character is no longer bad. But the movie sure is." In fact, it's "downright awful," Peter Debruge writes at Variety. He sums it up as "a loosely defined hero, an even vaguer villain and a whole lot of things flying at the screen."
- At the New York Post, Johnny Oleksinski describes the film as "sunglasses-and-fake-mustache bad." It's "begging to be banished to the Disney Vault" and "if I were [director] Kenneth Branagh, I'd use a pseudonym for the credits," he writes. And "for those hoping for a movie adaptation of each of the eight novels, as this film’s overly optimistic ending would suggest, I recommend starting a Change.org campaign to make a Netflix miniseries instead."
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