Check out the first official image of Judi Dench as Commander Root in the forthcoming Artemis Fowl movie. Based on the series of books by Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl mixes together the world of magic and fantasy with a light-hearted sense of James Bond-esque espionage and gadgetry. Since Colfer's first novel in the series was published in 2001, there have been seven further literary adventures for Fowl, a young and incredibly rich genius who uses his considerable wits and resources, and sometimes even his combat-trained butler, to get the better of adversaries.
Given the success of the Artemis Fowl books - and the feverish early 2000s search for the next Harry Potter - talk of a movie adaptation began almost immediately, but the project lost traction and wound up languishing in development hell. That was until around 2013, when Disney announced that the film had been revived and, two years later, Kenneth Branagh was announced as director. Now set for release on August 9th 2019, Artemis Fowl stars Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Nonso Anozie, Judi Dench and Josh Gad.
A first look at Dench's character, Commander Root, has now been revealed by EW. In the books, Root is the leader of the Lower Elements Police recon unit, or LEPrecon for short. Although old-fashioned, uptight, prone to anger and immediately at odds with the scheming Fowl, Root is not a typical antagonist, often showing compassion and parental affection towards subordinates and displaying remarkable dedication to protecting the secrets of the fairy world.
Dench's Root has obviously been gender-flipped from the books where the character was a male but regardless, the image looks very convincing both in terms of Commander Root herself and of the LEPrecon design in general. The green uniform looks futuristic enough so as to hint towards the advanced technology fairies possess in the Artemis Fowl world, but has enough of a colorful and fun feel so as to convey the comedic tone of the franchise. The emerald green design also helps get across the fairies' connection to Earth and nature - the very thing that puts them at odds with mankind.
While some Artemis Fowl fans might not be fully on board with a female version of Commander Root, it's impossible to deny that Dench looks completely natural in the role judging by this initial image. The legendary actress exudes a natural air of senior authority but it's also very easy to imagine her character exploding with rage at any moment - a trait synonymous with Commander Root. Dench's suitability for the role is perhaps partly due to her memorable performance as M in the James Bond movies. Bond is certainly an influence on Fowl and having Dench on board to lend her experience to a relatively young and fresh cast can only be a positive thing.
- Artemis Fowl (2020) release date: May 29, 2020