Artemis Fowl was directed by Kenneth Branagh and follows roughly the story of the first book in the series, with elements of the second book mixed in as well. A plan to save the father of Artemis, Artemis Fowl Sr. (Colin Farrell), to be held captive by a fairy maleficent turns into a mission to save humanity by keeping the mysterious and powerful Aculos out of the hands of the fairy. Unlike books, where the Fowls run a criminal empire motivated by greed (their family motto is” Gold, it is the power“), the film cropping Artemis Fowl Sr. as a rogue noble who steals magical artifacts to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.
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Similarly, while Artemis is considered to be a child very intelligent in the movie, he is not the interim leader of the criminal empire Fowl as it is in the books, and in fact has no idea that his father is a criminal. Similarly, instead of discovering the existence of fairies for himself as he does in the books, the fairy world to him is explained by his body guard, Butler (Nonso Anozie). And although Artemis takes briefly to the officer of the L. E. P. Recon Holly Short (Lara McDonnell) hostage, as he did in the first novel, he does so in the hope of saving his father rather than simply to restore his family fortune. Talk to SlashFilm, Branagh explained why the decision was made to have a more écarquillée and noble Artemis in the film:
“‘it was a decision based on a kind of taken back on what I’ve seen in the books, which has been Eoin introducing Artemis to gather a sense of morality through the books. He said he had done it preform like a nasty leap of 11 years. It seemed to me that for the public which was not familiar with the books, this would be a hard, a difficult type of thing to accept …
“e wanted us to find the humanity inside the character, before going on a journey that could be the opposite of the books, but a kind of integral in the sense of what I was looking for, which was a journey that may have taken our Artemis as he arrives at the end of the film ready to go to the dark side. “
The books of Colfer have an arc of redemption progressive for Artemis, with the young prodigy to begin a nasty cold and calculating (in part due to a lack of parenting tips in her life – her father is absent and her mother is severely depressed) and gradually warming up after the circumstances obliges him and the fairies to work together as allies. On the basis of the explanation of Branagh, the plan for the film was to have Artemis start innocent and to finish the film ready to embrace a criminal career. He even declared a” criminal brain “at the very end, but it is a little confusing given that the only crime he has committed is a brief detention of a fairy.
Although the official word from Branagh is that the change has been made to find the humanity in Artemis first, it seems likely that Artemis Fowl has been limited by the need to adapt the image to the family of Disney, and to present a positive role model for young viewers. A sequence in which Artemis and Butler are in Ho Chi Minh City and fool an old fairy, drinking a bottle of whiskey drugged with holy water (which will be” the burn from the inside to the outside “without the antidote) in order to extract responses of it has been left out of the film entirely. This would have been the closest that Artemis actually got to the wickedness, pure and simple, and its omission from the final cut seems to be emblematic of the studio trying to keep the character morally controlled.
Artemis Fowl has been in development for 19 years before it was finally published, and Branagh described the story as ” a nut difficult to crack. “It is possible that a child’s Bond villain, was simply not a good fit to be the hero of a Disney movie, but by removing the allure key to the character of Artemis the film ends up with a character who does not have much appeal at all.
More: Artemis Fowl Review: Disney’s Botched Adaptation is No Criminal Mastermind
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