Disney has released a new Artemis Fowl trailer for the upcoming feature film adaptation of the popular fantasy novels, but book readers may be left scratching their heads. The conceit of the eight-book series is that the protagonist is a 12-year-old supervillain—a criminal mastermind with a penchant for thievery. Based on this trailer, however, Disney has significantly softened the protagonist and given him a more traditional “hero’s journey” in bringing the story to the big screen.
In the film, young Artemis (Ferdia Shaw) is spurred into action when his wealthy father is kidnapped by fantastical creatures. As it turns out, his father has been stealing and keeping a treasure trove of fantastical objects, ostensibly to keep the human and fantasy worlds separate. So instead of just doin’ crimes, little Artemis Fowl is now on a noble mission to save his father before it’s too late.
Kenneth Branagh directed Disney’s adaptation, and while it certainly looks like a major franchise play for the Mouse House, it’s definitely targeting a quite young group of audience members. It’ll be interesting to see how book readers feel about these changes, and if the latest trailer for this significantly delayed film (it was originally supposed to come out in August 2019) turns them off.
Perhaps anticipating a bit of a strong reaction, Disney provided this statement from Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer:
“Disney and Kenneth Branagh have magically found a way to extract my imagination, mixed in a dollop of Disney magic and projected the enchanted concoction onto the silver screen. I am very excited for audiences to see the film.”
Check out the new Artemis Fowl trailer for yourself below, followed by a new poster. The movie opens in theaters on May 29th and also stars Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie, Josh McGuire, Nikesh Patel and Adrian Scarborough, with Colin Farrell and Judi Dench.
Here’s the official synopsis for Artemis Fowl:
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.