‘Alex Rider’ review: a fresh start for the teenage super-spy
It was little surprise when, in 2006, Anthony Horowitz’s 20million-selling series of Alex Rider books, based around the adventures of an orphaned child turned teenage super-spy, were adapted for the big screen.
More surprising, though, was how significantly Stormbreaker failed. “I didn’t hate it,” Horowitz reflected of the box office flop in a 2013 interview, “but it should have been the first of 10 and it wasn’t.” The film, which saw Alex Pettyfer starring as Rider, was criticised by some who said it turned the British hero into a Hollywood caricature.
Luckily for its disappointed creator, the franchise is getting a second chance at on-screen success. A new TV series has been commissioned by Amazon Prime Video, streaming from today, which sees Horowitz on board as executive producer. It places Alex Rider firmly in the present day, and foregoes the clichéd James Bond-style gadgets – in fact, not a single one appears across the first two episodes.
Otto Farrant, who stars as Rider, is joined by Game Of Thrones actor Brennock O’Connor (he played the treasonous Olly) as Rider’s charismatic best friend Tom Harris, while Vicky McClure and Stephen Dillane are disappointingly under-utilised as members of the covert government agency that recruit Rider. Kyra (Marli Siu), a new character who doesn’t appear in the books, is a worthy addition to the cast, though, adding another dimension to the often overwhelmingly male-centric world of the series.