It seems like no young adult novel is too sacred to be transformed into a sub-par movie. Especially when Disney gets involved. The latest blockbuster franchise attempt is Artemis Fowl, a fantasy series about a criminal genius who happens to be 12 years old.
The first real trailer just dropped – and boy, is it awful . Artemis Fowl has been Disneyfied from a hardcore antihero into a generic childhood fantasy protagonist.
If this is what movie magic does to an IP, let’s hope no one gets their hands on any more YA licenses.
Artemis Fowl – the book series – enjoyed breakout success precisely because it’s compelling.
The main character is not a cookie-cutter paragon of virtue. It’s weird to hate and root for a 12-year-old simultaneously, but that’s exactly what happens. Artemis Fowl is not the good guy.
In Artemis Fowl the movie, it seems like things have been changed. Rather than a snobbish, smarmy genius who is never flustered, he is a wide-eyed boy scout. And rather than discovering a hidden world via his own intelligence, his father is the gatekeeper for it all.
At the very least they appear to have kept the original setting of Ireland. For a few horrible moments, I thought the entire thing had been transplanted onto U.S. soil. Luckily that appears to have been a pale too far – even for Disney.
Artemis Fowl is just the latest casualty of the Hollywood machine. From Maze Runner to Inkheart, virtually no young adult book adaptation has managed to emerge unmangled by the industry’s vicious cogs.
There seems to be some sort of fundamental misunderstanding about why the source material sells so well. It’s because they present something unique and interesting. But all these film adaptions do is homogenize YA books into a sweaty grey lump of “kids cinema.”
If there is any justice in the world, Artemis Fowl will flop. Maybe then someone with some integrity could take a crack at it a few years down the road.
Or better yet, just leave the fantastic book series alone. It’s not like it needed the Hollywood treatment anyway.