artemis fowl
Will bookworms see yet another subpar adaption of a beloved series? (Image via Instagram)
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artemis fowl
Will bookworms see yet another subpar adaption of a beloved series? (Image via Instagram)

Will Artemis be the next ‘Harry Potter’ or the next ‘Percy Jackson’?

“Artemis Fowl,” by Eoin Colfer, is a bestselling fantasy book for young adults, and the first of an eight-book series. On May 29, 2020, Disney will be releasing a film based on the first book.

However, the first book of the series came out in 2001, and a movie adaptation of the novel has been in development for years, with the movie being delayed as recently as of this year; fans have been waiting for an “Artemis Fowl” movie for a long time, and expectations for the movie are high.

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The “Artemis Fowl” film was directed by Kenneth Branagh and will star Judi Dench and Josh Gad. With an award-winning cast and crew, “Artemis Fowl” looks to be a promising film, and if it does well, it could lead to seven sequels.

But when it comes to turning a book into a movie, there is a fine line between a great adaptation and a disaster, like “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” which should have spawned a large movie franchise based on the popularity of the books. But only two poorly-received movies came out of those adaptations because the movie creators took so many liberties with the story of the popular books, from small things, like the ages and appearances of the characters, to big things, like the plot.

Those movies were unlike the “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games” adaptations, where the movie creators took small liberties with the books, but overall, stayed true to the stories so that fans of the books were happy to head back to the theater each time a new movie was released.

It’s impossible to know which direction the “Artemis Fowl” movie will take until the film comes out, but there are a few details about the film that make it look like it will be another disappointing adaptation.

The Plot

Colfer’s “Artemis Fowl” series is about a young genius who comes from a long line of criminals. In the first book, Artemis’ family fortune isn’t what it used to be after his father disappears. But Artemis is determined to restore his family’s fortune to what it once was, so when he discovers an underground civilization of fairies, he decides to kidnap one of them and ransom her for gold. Artemis gets much more than he bargained for when he kidnaps a fairy police captain named Holly Short.

But the plot of the movie, according to Disney’s premise, makes it seem like the film is going to be a battle between Artemis and the fairies because they kidnapped his father, which is not how the books played out. Artemis and the fairies don’t get along at first, but it’s because Artemis kidnapped Short, not because they kidnapped his father. After the first book, the fairies and Artemis form a connection and eventually begin a tenuous friendship.

Disney’s synopsis is vague, but it’s worrying because it alludes to the idea that the villains of the movie are the fairies. Perhaps this isn’t the case, but if this is the route Disney is taking, and they want to kick-start a movie franchise based on Colfer’s books, then changing this major plot point will derail the possibility of future movies based on the series, which won’t lead to success with fans of the books.

Artemis Fowl, The Criminal Genius

In Colfer’s books, Artemis is a cold, calculated mastermind, which is why one of the most worrying signs about the upcoming movie is Disney’s casting call for the actor who will play him in the film.

“Artemis should be inquisitive and possessing both academic and emotional intelligence, Artemis is highly perceptive and good at reading people. Most importantly, Artemis is warm-hearted and has a great sense of humour; he has fun in whatever situation he is in and loves life.”

The casting call got a lot of Artemis’ personality right. He is a genius, so putting out a casting call for someone that could play an inquisitive and perceptive character makes it seem like they’re going to portray Artemis correctly.

However, Artemis has never been a warm-hearted person, especially in the first book. Throughout the series, he does grow and make friends, but he always remains the manipulative genius that fans of the books know and love. So, it’s worrying that Disney’s most important description for Artemis is that he is warm-hearted and loves life.

The “Artemis Fowl” books are a popular series, and Artemis is a fan favorite character, so turning the beloved criminal mastermind into a warm-hearted, life-loving person will not make the movie more successful.

Holly Short, LEPrecon Officer

As mentioned before, in the books, Artemis gets more than he bargained for when he kidnaps a fairy named Holly Short. Captain Short is a clever law enforcement officer who can handle any situation. She joined the Lower Elements Police force after her mom died in the line of duty.

The quick-witted officer began her career working in traffic, but Short eventually worked her way up and became the first woman to work in the Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance division, which is an accomplishment that Short is very proud of.

But even though this is such an important detail for Short’s character, Disney has disregarded it in favor of casting Judi Dench as Commander Root, Short’s superior LEPrecon officer. Although seeing Judi Dench in a movie is usually something to celebrate, casting her as Commander Root means that Short will no longer be the first female LEPrecon officer, and the fact that Disney is willing to get rid of such an important aspect of Short’s storyline is disappointing.

Along with the other major details that the film creators appear to be changing, it looks like the “Artemis Fowl” film might be another book-to-film adaptation disaster. A movie can make changes to the elements of a book, and the adaptation can still be great. But making changes to essential details, like the plot and two of the main characters’ traits and personalities, doesn’t bode well for the film.

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