Superheroes have their times and places, but antiheroes largely ruled the box-office this year with both Venom and Deadpool proving that Marvel properties can make bank for Sony and FOX, respectively. Meanwhile, Disney’s had plenty of Marvel success of its own already and will also forge into antihero territory in a completely different universe. This development has been a long time coming, since it’s been five years since Disney announced plans to adapt the Artemis Fowl book series (by Eoin Colfer) that began publishing in 2001. From the looks of the above teaser trailer, all of the Walt Disney Studios magic is on hand while bringing the serious dealings of 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl to life.
Fans of the series will know that Fowl descends from a family of criminal masterminds, and he must battle a fairy race who may have engineered the kidnapping of his father. Kenneth Branagh directs, Judy Dench narrates, Radiohead plays in the trailer’s background, and here’s part of the synopsis:
With the help of his loyal protector Butler, Artemis (Ferdia Shaw) 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.
The trailer is cryptic, but it’s only a teaser, so we should know more soon, and Branagh has been frank about keeping the runtime down to 90 minutes, which is refreshing, to say the least. Branagh also decided to gender-flip the narrator and called Dench’s performance “Napoleonic.” Still, it’s difficult to tell whether Artemis will receive multidimensional character development or simply subsist as a series of antihero tropes, but at least we’re already seeing an atypical take on fairies here.
Artemis Fowl will arrive in theaters on August 9, 2019.