Disney just dropped the official trailer for Artemis Fowl, its highly anticipated adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s fantasy book series.
The movie was supposed to open last August but was pushed back to May. If you’re unfamiliar with the Artemis Fowl books (there are eight in the series), here’s the official synopsis:
“[Artemis Fowl] is a fantastical, spellbinding adventure that follows the journey of 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl (newcomer Ferdia Shaw), a descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, as he seeks to find his father (Colin Farrell) who has mysteriously disappeared.
“With the help of his loyal protector Butler (Game of Thrones’ Nonso Anozie), Artemis sets out to find him, and in doing so uncovers an ancient, underground civilisation — the amazingly advanced world of fairies.
"Deducing that his father’s disappearance is somehow connected to the secretive, reclusive fairy world, cunning Artemis concocts a dangerous plan — so dangerous that he ultimately finds himself in a perilous war of wits with the all-powerful fairies.”
Judging from reactions online, fans of the books weren’t too impressed with the trailer, disappointed that the adaptation, directed by Kenneth Branagh, has sharply deviated from the books.
On YouTube, IreneShardaForever said, “Ugh, they totally messed up Artemis' character. He's a cold, calculating, manipulative, evil mastermind who acts like a 20-year-old stuck in a 12-year-olds body. Now he's a helpless welp who needs to be shown the supposed secrets of his family? Original Artemis already knew all those secrets and he was the one who discovered the fairy world all on his own. Why have you nerfed him so?
Max Weill, another YouTube commenter, wrote: “They never learn: Divergent, Eragon, Percy Jackson, Seventh Son, Mortal Instruments and now this.... I can accept that they want to mix book 1 and 2 to make Artemis the “good guy” in the end and that he allies with the fairies at the end of the half film (like beginning : capture holly and then attack of the troll and then second half of the film). But why change the story ???”
So much hostility. Then again, you don’t need to be a fan of the books to give the trailer the cold shoulder. Is it just me or does it feel a little — what’s that word? — cookie-cutter? Like a cross between Harry Potter and Men in Black, another by-the-numbers, soulless CGI love-fest. Can you say Mortal Engines? Or A Wrinkle in Time?
Disney must’ve anticipated the ill-feelings because the trailer came with a note from Colfer: “Disney and Kenneth Branagh have magically found a way to extract my imagination, mixed in a dollop of Disney magic and projected the enchanted concoction onto the silver screen. I am very excited for audiences to see the film.”
Even Branagh issued a statement to assuage fears of moviegoers : “Eoin Colfer created a landmark series of books and a totally original world of characters. We hope that fans familiar with this charismatic anti-hero, will also join a first-time cinema audience in enjoying a sea of surprises — cunning twists and turns in a typical Artemis Fowl style.
“His Irish adventures are breathless, exhilarating, energized escapades on a truly global scale. Inspired by his legendary cheekiness and wit, we’ve been privileged to introduce the myth from the page and hopefully create a new hero for the big screen. It’s been a real joy to be on that ride.”
Can you spell ‘damage control’?
Artemis Fowl opens in cinemas May 28.