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Thursday, July 02, 2020

Apotheosis Foul

Artemis Fowl (Kenneth Branagh, 2020) is utterly insufferable, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Smug and self-important and clueless in a way that is uniquely Disney, a cancer on art that seems to have corrupted even the great Kenneth Branagh (and composer Peter Doyle, for that matter).

The screenplay is insipid, utterly overflowing with hoary old cliches that are meant to make characters sound cool or dangerous or funny, but wind up as simply infuriating. The performances are annoyingly twee or so pretentious and , again, smug, that audiences are left with no one to root for or empathize with. Even the sound effects are annoying, and the usually-brilliant Peter Doyle's score is the stuff of bad 1970s Saturday morning cartoons.

Story beats are utterly predictable, including the death and almost immediate resurrection of a supporting character that was clearly supposed to fill the role of "badass audience favourite." He dies, there are tears shed, then literally seconds later a force field lifts so a faerie can use her magic and boom, he's alive again. Seriously, it's worse than the Chewbacca fake-out in The Rise of Skywalker, and that was bad enough.

The incompetence on display here is truly remarkable. Or perhaps not incompetence, but a complete lack of desire to reach beyond mediocrity in any aspect of this production.

Foul indeed.

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