Artemis Fowl reaches Disney+ Friday as the lowest-rated movie to premiere on the streaming service with just a 14% approval from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. A big-budget adaptation of author Eoin Colfer's young adult fantasy novel directed by Thor's Kenneth Branagh, Artemis Fowl was pulled from its scheduled May 29 release in theaters and sent straight to Disney+ amid worldwide theater closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sixth feature film to debut on the streamer behind the mid-budgeted Lady and the Tramp, Noelle, Togo, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, and Stargirl, Artemis Fowl also possesses the largest price tag at a reported cost of $125 million.
Togo, the true story dog-sled drama starring Willem Dafoe, placed first with critics at 91%. Kid detective comedy Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, also based on a family-friendly novel, was well-received at 88%. Another novel adaptation, musical romantic drama Stargirl, performed to the tune of 69%.
Lady and the Tramp, the live-action re-imagining of Walt Disney's 1955 animated film, and Noelle, starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader as the children of Santa Claus, launched alongside the service on November 12. The films earned a 66% "fresh" and a 53% "rotten," respectively.
In a spoiler-free review published by ComicBook.com's Charlie Ridgely, the "lifeless" Artemis is described as a "boring version of Home Alone." Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper says the straight-to-streaming Artemis Fowl "plays well as a warm and funny and entertaining at-home family viewing experience."
For Variety, among a majority of negative reviews, Peter Debruge writes Artemis Fowl is "supposed to be Disney’s Harry Potter... Instead, it arrives 20 years on, a very late addition to an already overcrowded genre, adding little but noise, garish CGI and more convoluted mythology about the supposedly real civilizations of magical folk... that live among us."
In Artemis Fowl, the titular 12-year-old (Ferdia Shaw) is a self-described "criminal mastermind" who must infiltrate an ancient underground civilization of fairies to rescue his kidnapped father (Colin Farrell).
Artemis Fowl is directed by Kenneth Branagh and stars Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie, Josh McGuire, Nikesh Patel and Adrian Scarborough, with Colin Farrell and Judi Dench. Kenneth Branagh, p.g.a. and Judy Hofflund, p.g.a. are producing with Angus More Gordon and Matthew Jenkins serving as executive producers. Conor McPherson and Hamish McColl wrote the screenplay.
Disney’s Artemis Fowl releases exclusively on Disney+ Friday, June 12.
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