There is no way to escape the great adaptation debate when fan-favorite books, graphic novels, or video games are on the line. While The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are considered examples of successful franchises, it’s not always the case.
The latest series up on adaptation judgment row is Artemis Fowl, which has been transformed by Disney for the big screen. It’s already eliciting grumbles.
Who or what is ‘Artemis Fowl’?
Penned by author Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl is an eight-book series centering on a character of the same name. In the first book titled Artemis Fowl, readers were introduced to the 12-year-old criminal mastermind who is too smart (and sometimes too surly) for his own good.
Seriously, the kid is basically a genius with a penchant for jerk behavior money schemes. After his father went missing, one of the things he did was kidnap a fairy officer and held her for ransom. Why? To replenish his family’s coffers.
That act sets off a chain of events involving the tech-savvy, secret fairy world Haven, and the human world with Fowl, a Mud Man (fairy slang for human) engaging in unscrupulous behavior.
This volume was released in 2001 with the final book, The Last Guardian, end-capping the series in 2012. Diehard fans describe it as Die Hard with fairies.
Over the course of the series, Fowl grows and redeems himself for past bad deeds, but his action-packed adventures are full of sophisticated tech, weapons, dwarves who have flatulence as a special power, and cadre of pixies, sprites (who like wine), gnomes, and human/fairy hybrids.
Disney released a new ‘Artemis Fowl’ trailer
This project was originally scheduled to premiere in August 2019, but Disney pushed the date back. Based on the first novel in the series, Artemis Fowl stars Ferdia Shaw, Josh Gad, Nonso Anozie, Judi Dench, and Colin Farrell.
A teaser trailer was dropped in November 2018, but the latest hit the web on March 2. Here’s a synopsis of the film:
“Disney’s Artemis Fowl, based on the beloved book by Eoin Colfer, is a fantastical, spellbinding adventure that follows the journey of 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl, a descendant of a long line of criminal masterminds, as he seeks to find his father who has mysteriously disappeared.
With the help of his loyal protector Butler, Artemis sets out to find him, and in doing so uncovers an ancient, underground civilization: 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.”
Fans have mixed reactions
There is an overwhelming amount of negative reactions to the new trailer on social media from fans who read the books. Memes and comments are skewering the film, saying that it looks like Disney totally massacred the story from the novel and ruined the character.
One Twitter user remarked, “This is all wrong. Artemis Fowl was a cold, calculating, genius villain. That’s what made the books unique, because he was the villain but you still cheered for him. Then Disney comes along, throws pixie dust at Artemis and now he’s a good boy hero with a heart of gold.”
Others compared it to their disappointment over the Percy Jackson movies. A commenter added, “As a Percy Jackson fan who understands the struggle, I vow that we will stand behind you. Also, I’ve read the Artemis Fowl books and this trailer is off.”
YouTube comments were in the same vein with fans saying the casting for Butler, Holly, and Artemis is off, and the movie looks like a disgrace. Ouch. Some will give it a chance but people believe this Disney version is aimed at an audience unfamiliar with the books and who like Spy Kid type fare.
Artemis Fowl arrives in theaters on May 29, 2020.