Artemis Fowl Review

Yesterday I announced the seventh annual Christmas in July Blogathon! If you are interested in participating or want to know more, check out this announcement post.


Artemis Fowl movie posterSynopsis
When his father is kidnapped for his knowledge of a powerful fairy artifact, Artemis Fowl (Ferdia Shaw) must use clues left in his father’s journal to find the artifact and rescue his father, Artemis Fowl, Sr. (Colin Farrell), from a mysterious figure.

Review
I’m aware that Artemis Fowl is adapted from a young adults novel series. I’m also aware of the troubled production history this film had from when its movie rights were sold until it was finally released. Then with the pandemic, this moved from a summer blockbuster slot to a Disney+ release. Between those issues and Disney’s difficulty adapting other popular young adult novels, such as A Wrinkle in Time, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this film is ultimately a let down.

For starters, the story is extremely shallow. There is a MacGuffin that both the heroes and the villains are trying to find because reasons. It’s never explained clearly what it’s for or why it’s so powerful, just that it is because magic. The main villain, who is played by the uncredited Hong Chau, is never really seen or given much motivation or backstory. The team of heroes band together because it’s needed for the plot to move forward. Oh, and there’s a disgraced fairy officer that is given his job back because the bad guy wants him to become a mole and no one seems to question it. So yeah, there’s a lot going on.

It is said it is better to show and not tell in cinema. Apparently, the writer of Artemis Fowl never heard that saying before because this film is littered with exposition. Between narration, news reports, and characters relaying back story, a good number of classic exposition tropes can be found in this film. We are constantly told how smart Artemis is, we are constantly told Artemis has a strained relationship with his father, we are constantly told how good of a thief Mulch Diggums is, but very little of any of that is actually shown.

Because we are always told things rather than shown them, this movie moves both too quickly and too slowly at the same time. The story and characters are constantly rushing from scene to scene and things happen for no rhyme or reason other than because the story needs them to. The break-neck speed of the story never really lets the audience get a good handle of what’s going on because by the time you think about think you know what’s happening in the scene, it’s on to the next one. This film moves too quickly for its own good. Yet with all the exposition, scenes themselves drag on. It’s truly a weird dynamic.

The actions scenes were really the only part of the movie that kept my attention. However, they were marred by middling visuals. Some of the set pieces were exciting, like a troll rampaging through Fowl manor, and actually kept the film from becoming a snooze fest to me. But as flashy as these scenes were, things looked a bit too cartoonish, which in the end took me out of the experience just enough to not get the full enjoyment.

I thought Artemis Fowl was OK 😐 I can’t convince myself to say this is a bad film but it’s close. Even with a non-existent story, mediocre visuals, and pacing issues abound, I must admit that I had at least a little bit of fun. Not enough to revisit it again but enough to call it mediocre at best. Too bad though, given the popularity of the novels. Once again we’ll have to settle for a book-to-film adaptation that doesn’t live up to its source material. Not even Disney, it seems, can solve that mystery.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Kenneth Branagh – Director
Conor McPherson – Screenplay
Patrick Doyle – Composer

Ferdia Shaw – Artemis Fowl
Lara McDonnell – Holly Short
Josh Gad – Mulch Diggums
Nonso Anozie – Domovoi Butler
Tamara Smart – Juliet Butler
Colin Farrell – Artemis Fowl, Sr.
Judi Dench – Commander Root
Nikesh Patel – Chief Tech Officer Foaly
Joshua McGuire – Briar Cudgeon
Hong Chau – Opal Koboi

Ranking the Songs Of Frozen II

 Frozen II movie poster

Hello, friends!

As you might have heard, Frozen II released a few weeks ago and has done quite well at the box office. You can check out my review of it here. In the time since watching this movie in the theater, I have seen several people do their own ranking of the songs from the film and thought to myself, “what a great idea!” Honestly, I can’t believe I haven’t thought before to this myself, either with Disney’s latest animated feature or any of their others. Well it is time to remedy that!

Below is my ranking of the seven songs from Frozen II. In this list, I am not including the Panic! at the Disco, Kacey Musgraves, or Weezer versions of the songs, nor am I including “Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People (Cont.)” since it’s only 30 seconds long and it is really just an intro/prelude to “Lost in the Woods.” I have linked each song title to a video of the song on YouTube so you can check them out for yourself, after you’re done reading the full list here of course!

Alright, enough chit-chat. Onto the rankings!

7) When I Am Older

I’m not exactly sure what it is about Olaf’s song this time around, it has a similar tune and naivete as his song “In Summer” from Frozen, but I am not as entranced by “When I am Older.” It’s fun and it’s whimsical but it doesn’t have the same foot tapping potential as “In Summer.”

6) The Next Right Thing

I appreciate the message of “The Next Right Thing;” it’s about getting up, dusting yourself off, and moving forward when you are at a low point. However, I haven’t found the song to be one that I find myself randomly start singing like I do some of the other songs on this list. So to recap: great message, not a catchy melody.

5) All Is Found

Like “Frozen Heart” from Frozen, “All Is Found” foreshadows the events of the film. It’s a sweet lullaby sung by Anna and Elsa’s mother, Queen Iduna, voiced by Evan Rachel Wood. As an opener, I’d say it is a little better than “Frozen Heart.” I can see many parents singing this song to their young children while lying them down to bed.

4) Some Things Never Change

“Some Things Never Change” feels the most like the songs from Frozen than all the other songs on this list, which is one of the reasons it is smack dab in the middle of the ranking. There is a nice beat and it feels ripe for Disney’s sing-a-long treatment. Every major character gets at least a few lines to showcase their talents before their own numbers later in the film.

3) Lost in the Woods

In the theater, “Lost in the Woods” had me nearly crying from laughter. Lyrically, it’s actually sweet. The song is a rock ballad, reminiscent of something you might have heard in the 80s. The film goes all in on that angle, too, with the sequence. I give credit to Disney and the directors because this one is definitely for the parents who have to endure watching the film with their young children.

2) Into the Unknown

I think “Into the Unknown” is expected to be Frozen II‘s “Let It Go.” It was the first have the in-film sequence and already has a multi-language version released online, just like “Let It Go.” Once again, Idina Menzel proves that she is an incredible powerhouse of a singer. While “Into the Unknown” is not quite the anthem that “Let it Go” has become, it is still amazing to both listen to and watch.

1) Show Yourself

Even after listening to “Show Yourself” many, many times, I still get emotional. Visually, be the best looking sequence in the entire film. However, it is during this song that Elsa finally becomes who she was meant to be since where we met her in Frozen. Throughout both movies, Elsa feels like she is an outsider; like she belongs somewhere else. During this song is when she finds what she has been looking for for two films. On my Disney playlist, I have “Let it Go” and “Show Yourself” back-to-back because these two go together thematically. Songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez most popular song might be “Let it Go” but “Show Yourself” is their most powerful.


And that is my ranking of the songs of Frozen II! What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? How would you rank the songs of Frozen II?

Until next time, cheers!

Movie Quote of the Week – 3/25/16

Movie Quote of the Week banner

Answer to MWL 3/23/16: Olaf (Josh Gad) – Frozen

Anna: Please Olaf, you can’t stay h-here. You’ll melt.
Olaf: I am not leaving here until we find some other act of true love to save you! Do you happen to have any ideas?
Anna: I don’t even know what love is.
Olaf: That’s OK, I do. Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours. Like, you know, how Kristoff brought you back here to Hans and left you forever.
Anna: Kristoff… loves me?
Olaf: Wow, you really don’t know anything about love, do you?
Anna: Olaf, you’re melting.
Olaf: Some people are worth melting for.

Thanks for everyone’s submissions and one talking snowman to the following people for answering correctly:

Rob (Movierob)
Kira (Film and TV 101)
That Other Critic (That Other Critic)
Jackie
Cory
Marta (Ramblings of a Cinefile)
Carly (Carly Hearts Movies)

Frozen Review

Frozen movie posterSynopsis
When Princess Elsa (Idina Menzel) was a little girl, her parents closed the doors to the castle because they feared their kingdom would not accept Elsa’s snow magic. On the day of Elsa’s coronation ceremony, no one is more elated than her sister, Princess Anna (Kristen Bell), since the castle doors will be open for the first time in years. Excited to meet someone special, she runs into Prince Hans (Santino Fontana) , who quickly proposes to her. When the two ask for the new Queen’s blessing, an argument erupts between the two sisters, causing Elsa’s powers to surge out of control, cloaking the entire kingdom in an eternal winter, and Elsa to run away. After gaining the help of Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), an ice salesman, and the talking snowman Olaf (Josh Gad), Anna heads off on a journey to find her sister and convince her to end the curse that has befallen the land.

Review
Finally. Finally Disney is starting to regain its musical glory from the 1990s. The Disney Renaissance (the time between The Little Mermaid and Tarzan) gave us some of the greatest animated musicals, and Frozen successfully recaptures the magic that made them fun, entertaining, and heartwarming. It appears Disney has learned from the last few years and has created an animated musical that could propel them back to the King of the animated feature.

Frozen is different than your normal princess movie because it has not one but two princesses: Anna and Elsa. The two sisters are very different, but their contrast is what drives their relationship. Anna is without a doubt my favorite of the two. She is quirky, outgoing, and awkward, whereas Elsa is more reserved and poised. However, both sisters have aspects to their character than anyone can find something to relate to. It’s such a refreshing take on the Disney Princess.

Despite what the trailer or my synopsis may portray, Elsa is actually not the villain. Rather, she is more of a catalyst for Anna’s journey. Eventually, she becomes comfortable with her gift and accepts what she can do. Never once does she have any malevolent intent to her actions. The true villain doesn’t reveal themselves until about the last third of the movie. It was a good reveal and it took me by surprise.

Olaf, the hard-not-to-love snowman, almost single-handedly stole the show. I would say he is great as the comedic relief, but that is not really true since every character has some comical elements to them. He is, however, the funniest character of the bunch, not just in what he says but also his actions.  Kristoff is fun, particularly when he is “conversing” with his pet reindeer, Sven.

The animation is gorgeous. It is amazing to see how far the computer animation has improved over the last fifteen or so years. Some of the ice effects are some of the best I have seen. These amazing effects help evoke emotions that really bring you deeper into the story. Disney’s other recent computer animated films, Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled, were well animated, but Frozen improves on them to create one of the most visually pleasing movie since How to Train Your Dragon.

The moral of the story is unlike Disney’s previous princess movies. One of the character’s actions make for a good jaw-dropping moment. It still has to do with “true love” but isn’t exactly what you would expect. I’m not going to say any specifics, but it was a good twist that is more inline with modern views.

The songs can make or break a musical and the score in Frozen is the best since the aforementioned Disney Renaissance. The husband-and-wife songwriting team of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez did great penning the songs. They were reminiscent of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, but still felt like their own. Elsa’s song “Let It Go” has become one of my favorites. I may or may not have once listened to it on repeat for an hour and a half… Anyway, I’m hoping Lopez and Anderson-Lopez write for the next several Disney musicals because I can’t wait to be wowed by the pair again.

Frozen is one of the best Disney movies in years. Anyone can relate to the bond between Anna and Elsa. The animation and score do wonders to enhance the already stellar story. If Disney Animation continues to create movies of this magnitude, this could be the start of another Disney Renaissance.

Rating
5/5