Artemis Fowl (2020)

I was REALLY looking forward to this. I LOVE the books, they’re fun, unique, and have a great plot running throughout the whole series. Sure, it made some missteps (one character in particular was set up to be a major part, and then just ignored for the rest of the series). Part of my love for the series comes from the complex characters. Artemis himself starts off the series as the antagonist, he’s essentially a child sociopath. If he was an adult he’d be a Bond villain: calm, calculating, and incredibly vicious, willing to do anything to achieve his goals (the series starts with him shooting and kidnapping a fairy, being the first person in millennia to do so). Which is why I was deeply concerned by the casting call, which described him as:

“warm hearted and with a great sense of humour; he has fun in whatever situation he is in and loves life”

It then got worse with the casting of Judi Dench as Commander Root, gender-swapping the character. Now I know how that sounds: “bloody SJW’s ruining everything, James Bond has to be a straight white male who’s hair colour, body, and personality keeps changing”. But it’s not that, it’s that it ruins one of the core dynamics of the book. In the book, Holly Short (who, incidentally has “nut-brown” skin in the book, yet is very white in the film) is notable for being the first female captain, and her relationship with Root is based on that, as he has to be harder on her than everybody else because if she fails, people will use it as a justification for keeping women away from the position forever, she has to be perfect, and he has to make sure she is. With Root also being a woman, that dynamic and backstory is gone.

Also gone, is Butler. I mean, he’s in the film, but it’s not the same character as in the book. Firstly, he’s black, not eurasian (and in the books his family have served the Fowl’s for generations, and having a black family serve a rich white family for generations is……unfortunate). Also in the books he is highly secretive of his real name, only mentioning it when he’s about to die, he insists on being referred to as “Butler”. In this, it’s the opposite, he insists on going by his first name. This is a confusing change, it adds nothing to the story, so I can’t get the justification for changing it. It seems like it was just changed for the sake of changing it. He also does a little spin for no reason, and everybody who reads the books knows how he detests that, he specifically mentions it.

So aside from being a TERRIBLE adaptation, is it a good film on it’s own merits? Lol, no. The plot is incredibly dull (and I’m still not entirely sure what the thing they’re searching for actually does outside of “driving the plot”), the characters are dull, the performances, well I feel if I said how I felt it would verge on bullying.

I detest this film for what it was, for what it wasn’t, and for what it could have been. I saw it for free on disney+, and still feel cheated. This could have been something great, instead it’s just an example of how bad Disney are at their job sometimes.

The Darkest Minds (2018)

I first became aware of this film a few weeks ago, I was at the cinema watching the trailers (controversial opinion; I actually LOVE watching the trailers at cinema) and saw the trailer for this. Now I had no idea this existed. I did, however, know of a film called The New Mutants, a teen drama/horror set in the X-men universe. As I was watching the trailer I thought “this new x-men doesn’t look as good as I thought it would” then I found out it wasn’t new X-men film. But whilst watching it; it REALLY wants to be. I haven’t seen a rip-off this poor since I released My C-men, described by critics as “a little hard to swallow”, “needs more substance”, and “a bit chewy”.

Okay, with that horrifying visual out of your brain I’ll get into more detail about this film. it doesn’t really work. It has many issues, the pacing, the story itself, and the underdeveloped characters. But the real issue; it’s a romance story where the romance at the heart of it doesn’t work. At no point do you buy them as a couple, I’m not sure whether it’s because of bad writing or just lack of chemistry, but it doesn’t really work.

The story itself also seemed to fall a little flat. There’s been A LOT of apocalyptic fiction aimed at young adults lately, so for one to stand out it has to do something different, something to make you think “okay, THAT’S why this is important”. For me, The 5th Wave did it through having an incredibly tight plot and astounding action scenes which really showed the brutality, but in a PG-13 way. This one attempts to do it by taking aspects of Hunger Games, the aforementioned X-Men, Maze Runner, Divergent, etc. As such, it never really seems to stand on its own two feet. There’s nothing about THIS film that marks itself as unique or special. Side note; how ripe is YA apocalyptic fiction for parody fodder? So yeah this film is just okay really. Not great enough to be remembered for years to come, not bad enough to make fun of that much. I mean, there’s nothing inherently BAD about this film, but there’s nothing really that made me sit up and take notice. The performances were good, but the characters are kind of meh so it balances out. Personally, I think the “oh, the person the audience assumes is bad turned out to be bad? quelle surprise” thing needs to stop happening (but then again if it was a red herring I would also boo that as being cliche, so can’t really win really). One thing which is kind of unforgivable though; the trailer.

See the film establishes that she can wipe herself from memories, and when she does so we see the characters memories of her and she kind of Thanos’s away. (turns into dust and floats away). So, what scene is in the trailer:

Screen Shot 2018-08-29 at 14.36.54.png That’s her, wiping the memory of her from the male lead. This happens JUST before the end and is one of the last moments where if you went for a piss, you’d be confused when you came back. The film leads up to this; and they put it in the trailer? Yeah, that’s not good. But at least they don’t put the very last scene in the trailer, where she accepts her role as the leader of the uprising and makes a call to arms in front of a stadium of other young people, they’d have to be an idiot to put that in.

Screen Shot 2018-08-29 at 14.40.01.png

God-fucking-damnit!