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Top 10 Things We Want to See in Artemis Fowl (2019)

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada
Do not get between this preteen genius and his gold.For this list, we're looking at elements from the books we’d love to see or suggestions we have for the upcoming Disney film. If you haven’t read the “Artemis Fowl” series, beware of a few spoilers coming your way.
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Top 10 Things We Want to See in Artemis Fowl


Do not get between this preteen genius and his gold. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten things we want to see in the “Artemis Fowl” movie. For this list, we're looking at elements from the books or suggestions we have for the upcoming Disney film. If you haven’t read the “Artemis Fowl” series, beware of a few spoilers coming your way.

#10: Show Don’t Tell

The “Artemis Fowl” series begins when a 12-year-old genius kidnaps a fairy and ransoms her for gold. Although the book dives into the daily lives of the Fairy People and each step of Artemis’ plot, we don’t need every little detail in the movie. Adaptations of children’s media tend to include clunky exposition that can bring stories to a standstill. If the writers want to include finer details about the world, they should show us in subtle and interesting ways. The audience will appreciate a script that focuses less on backstory and more on the layered kidnapping plot.

#9: Butler in Action

If you combined Batman’s Alfred with The Rock, you’d get Artemis Fowl’s Butler. Butler comes from a historic line of bodyguards that go through the training from hell to protect the Fowl Family. He’s extremely loyal and so dedicated to his job that he doesn’t bother using his real name. At the same time, he’s an unstoppable warrior that can take on any human or magical threat without fear. In the books, he’s beaten down countless thugs and even defeated a troll. We hope the talented Nonso Anozie gets plenty of chances to show off Butler’s skills when he plays the bodyguard next year.

#8: A Large LEPrecon Presence

No, we’re not talking about the little green guys. In the books, the Lower Elements Police protect the underground world of the fairy people. If a magical creature escapes to the surface, a reconnaissance team member, or LEPrecon officer for short, is sent to investigate. LEPrecon is full of great characters like Foaly, a sarcastic centaur who serves as their go-to tech expert. Its members are also equipped with cutting edge equipment that helps them do things like stun enemies and turn invisible. Since nearly half the first book is spent developing LEPrecon, the movie should give them a major share of the runtime.

#7: Magical Special Effects

Bringing a world with fairies, advanced weapons and a hidden city to life is a daunting task. Fortunately, the first trailer gave us good reason to be optimistic. There were glimpses of sleek LEPrecon tech along with a fairy who underwent a stunning transformation sequence. While it seems the movie won’t lack CGI effects, it would also be great to see some amazing practical effects for the fairy characters. Other movies have shown that it’s possible to create creatures by using more makeup and prosthetics than CGI. The right combination of practical and generated effects could make this fantasy feel real.

#6: Holly Short in the Spotlight

Although the main conflict starts with Captain Holly Short getting captured, the elf is far from a pushover. She became the first female member of LEPrecon by working hard and ignoring everyone who doubted her. In the books, Short was resourceful enough to break out of her cell in the Fowl Mansion. If she hadn’t shown compassion and helped her captors fight a troll, she could’ve escaped her hostage situation early. Holly’s complex personality and heroic instincts make her story compelling from start to finish. She has what it takes to become a breakout cinematic heroine.

#5: Kenneth Branagh Giving Strong Direction

Kenneth Branagh’s immense talent has kept him in demand as an actor for several decades. However, his directorial projects haven’t been as consistent. While Branagh’s takes on Shakespeare have largely been well received, his fantasy work has been uneven. In films like “Thor” and “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein”, he seemed to struggle balancing big action set pieces with nuanced character development. Fortunately, interviews with Branagh suggest he’s recognized past missteps and will make sure that we’re invested in Artemis and his crew. If Branagh can provide great character development with creative action scenes, then he could have the biggest fantasy hit of his directing career.

#4: A Focus on the First Book

Despite being based on the first book, the movie will reportedly include elements from the sequels as well. Those future story beats shouldn’t overwhelm the main plot. If there’s too many sequel details, we’ll end up with a confusing story that feels like it exists just to set-up other films - which seldom ends well. We’re not saying fans won’t appreciate nods to later mysteries, such as the disappearance of Artemis’ father. But for newcomers to the story, sticking to the original book’s plot with just a few sequel hints will ensure they won’t be too confused to demand more movies in the franchise.

#3: Judi Dench as Commander Root

Commander Julius Root leads the LEPrecon team with lots of anger and an unhealthy cigar habit. Although he’s not the calmest boss, he has a deep sense of duty and cares for his officers. In the film, the role will be gender-swapped so that Academy Award winning actress Dame Judi Dench can take on the role. Early reports said that her version of Root will be a “steely leader”. That description sounds like Dench’s role as MI-6 chief “M” in the “James Bond” franchise. If Dench’s Root is anything like her iconic performance as “M”, we can’t wait to see her lead LEPrecon.

#2: Good Performances

Two of the movie’s biggest roles will be played by child actors. Newcomer Ferdia Shaw will portray Artemis while Lara McDonnell will play Holly. Although they both look perfect for the roles, time will tell if their performances can measure up. There have been plenty of iconic properties that have been left at the mercy of bad child acting. And since Artemis and Holly are complex from the beginning, Shaw and McDonnell will have to work hard to make their respective characters feel three dimensional. Hopefully, Branagh will be able to bring out the best from his young actors.

Before we conjure up our top pick, here are some honorable mentions.

A Blend of Genres

Spending Time in Haven City

#1: A Faithful Portrayal of Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl II isn’t your typical child protagonist. The 12-year-old is intelligent enough to discover a hidden magical society and outwit them at every turn. He executes his plans by hiding his true emotions under a ruthless and icy persona. As his exploits force him to make difficult moral decisions, he defrosts and become more vulnerable. Artemis’ transformation is a fascinating process that shouldn’t be rushed for the movie. If he’s less cruel to make him appeal to wider audiences, he won’t be as interesting. Seeing Artemis at his worst will lead to the best version of this gripping fantasy.

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