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Artemis Fowl, Disney Dud  Is Neither Fish Nor Fowl

Artemis Fowl(Disney-Hotstar)

Starring Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell,Josh Gad,Tamara Smart,Nonso Anozie,Colin Farrell,Judi Dench

Directed by Kenneth  Branagh

Rating: * (1 star)

Have you noticed? Only one ‘e’ separates  dude  from dud. The film’s little  hero who goes by the fishy name of Artemis Fowl, and his  associates in arms Holly and  Juliet  Butler(whose  Uncle is  actually  Artemis’ butler) try so hard to be cool that they end up being the opposite.

These dudes are plainly duds firing  blank bullets  at  green screens as  the greenhorns  let out collective  bouts of  screams  hoping that somewhere  the adventure story will stop being as juvenile as  the  young protagonists. Artemis Fowl is too clumsy and  ill-conceived  to  be  a decent  children’s  film. Grownups will yawn through the  painfully long adventure saga that looks like a  3D vision   shrunken during the  time  of  the current crisis.Which is exactly what  it is.  But then weren’t we promised  more by Disney, the dudes of  bigness?

Sadly  it’s not just the  size of the screen that ties down the  adventures  of   Artemis  and  his friends . It’s the sheer  misuse  of the epic vision  , the subversion  of the Star Wars/Indiana Jones tropes  into something so  callow and  ill-conceived that  it seems  like a mockery  of  the  3D-sci-fi tradition  .

Coming from the  distinguished  Kenneth  Branagh whose  Shakespeare  adaptations have regaled us  for  decades, Artemis Fowl seems  like  a regression into  juvenile senility, a sort  of Men In Diapers after the Men In Black have aged gracelessly.

So what’s Artemis Fowl about?  Does anyone  really want to know? It begins with Colin  Farrell(lately  down in the dumps) making a distracted appearance as young Artemis’  globally notorious entrepreneur-criminal(something like Chandrachur Singh in  Aarya).When Farrell tells his young co-star Ferdia Shaw(nicely done, son)    , ‘I have to go’ right at  the start  of  the film , he sounds like he is making a hasty retreat into the  potty  from a party that  is  going to go horribly wrong.

What  follows is  neither fish nor fowl.Simply  an anarchic nonsense with goblins  fairies  and  other other-worldly creatures  swamping the screen in  a show of  FX that would probably  impress a 7-year  old   who has never been allowed  to watch television.

I would forgive all the monstrous  leaps of imagination.But to cast Dame Judi Bench as an alien, is  simply unpardonable.

Really Dame Judi, was it the zeroes on the paycheque? Or did  Mr Branagh  fool you  into  believing he  was a filming a new never-published work of Shakespeare.

Shakespeare   should sue the director for going from the Bard to the worst.

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