|Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events |
Actors: Jim Carrey, Jude Law, Meryl Streep, Liam Aiken, Emily Browning
Director: Brad Silberling
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
In LEMONY SNICKET?S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, after Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire's parents perish in a terrible fire, they are placed in the care of their uncle, Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), an evil fiend who is p... more »
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Lisa K. from CARY, NC
Reviewed on 9/22/2012...
LOVED IT!! Our entire family enjoyed this film. We give it 4 stars!!
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jefferson N. from BLAIRSVILLE, GA
Reviewed on 9/21/2012...
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a masterpiece of young adult fantasy. Coming out on the heels of the success of the Harry Potter films, it could have been a great series of films. Sadly, only one was made. Perhaps the very trend the producers were trying to follow caused a backlash rather than a push.
The movie follows the lives of three orphans who lost their parents due to a mysterious fire. The oldest sister (played by Emily Browning from Sucker Punch) is a genius inventor and a born leader. The brother is a scholar of no small proportion. And the youngest sister is the heart of the trio. They are moved from one adoptive home to another, only to encounter and be hindered by the mysterious and insane Count Olaf (played with scene-chewing relish by Jim Carrey). Is it merely a coincidence that this twisted man shows up in their lives no matter where they go, or is he part of some devilish conspiracy? Perhaps even the man that killed their parents in the first place?
The movie's strengths are the great acting performances and the surreal, dark cinematography. The children do a marvelous acting job. Particularly, we can see in this early performance that Ms. Browning had what it takes to be a great actress. And Jim Carrey is all over the place as Count Olaf and his many "ingenius" disguises.
Sadly, the very things that make this a good movie are the things that hold it back, as well. Released to perhaps become another young adult movie series based on a book to catch the Harry Potter crowd, it just didn't catch on. Whilst Harry Potter has hope and wonder, this film is about as dark and morbid as you could be allowed to be in a children's movie. And while that gives it it's particular charm, it definently did not endear it to parents that took their children to see a film they probably assumed was just a Potter rip-off.
Also, while Jim Carrey pulled off a great maniacal Count Olaf, perhaps he took over the film a wee bit much. Particularly in the special features. It's obvious that the director loved him and loved his work, and the commentary track focuses much more on Carrey than on the other stars of the film. In fact, it pretty much shoves him down your throat without a cool drink to wash him down. Jim is a great comic actor, but does tend to take over what he works on...and in an ensemble meant to focus on children, they become bit players in their own movie...and with no fault of their own.
So, if you love dark fantasy and young adult stories, here is a great film for you! Just don't go in expecting Harry Potter and the Series of Unfortunate Events. I believe even Voldemort would have been unnerved around Mr. Carrey...or is it Count Olaf?
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Lori K. from CLINTON TWP, MI
Reviewed on 4/5/2011...
This movie was just "okay" for me. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. Worth watching - at least once.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Dennis S. from VALLEJO, CA
Reviewed on 10/21/2009...
A screen adaptation of the teenage series of the same name. Not the best performance by Jim Carrey as he adds his physical comedy to the story. Otherwise it is an enjoyable movie with excellent performances by Emily Browning and Liam Aiken.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Very good interpretation of Snickett's superlative books
Jonathan Appleseed | 12/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's somewhat difficult to review this film. Any adaptation of a book sets certain expectations for those who are seeing the movie - and the most common expectation is that the movie is going to parallel, as accurately as it can, the books.
Does this do that? Yes and no.
The central plot elements of the books are there: the greedy Count Olaf who wants to steal their fortune; the bumbling Mr. Poe who can't seem to understand anything; Uncle Monty, who makes them feel at home for the first time since losing their parents; and their Aunt Josephine, who is afraid of so many things - radiators, ovens, falling refrigerators, and, of course, realtors.
However, the movie moves rather quickly to the second book, skirting swiftly around the first book and inserting a segue that didn't happen in any book to cause the movement. I was puzzled by this. There were other liberties taken, but as I ruminate over them, they seem rather insignificant. The resolution of Uncle Monty's "scene" was nearly identical to the one in the book, as was the resolution to the "scene" featuring Aunt Josephine. As I said, the central plot elements remained the same.
In an interesting and altogether understandable move (as it was the most intriguing filmable climax), the ending of the first book was made the ending of the movie.
All of the sets were well created: Olaf's, Monty's, Josephine's home - and even the ruined Baudelaire mansion. They were believable and well done.
Some of the actors seemed out of place, particularly the ones playing Mr. Poe and Klaus. I don't understand why they were so far removed from their physical descriptions in the book. Surely finding someone taller to play Mr. Poe couldn't have been that difficult (he wasn't, by the way, coughing and sniffing constantly), and at the very least they could have put glasses on Klaus.
Jim Carrey was somewhat over-the-top as Count Olaf and Captain Sham, but he was understated and perfect as Stefano. Count Olaf is, as any readers of the book know (and I've read and reviewed all of them) a rather over-the-top character, so I found his portrayal of Olaf to be spot-on and didn't have a problem with it as some "real" reviewers have.
The person I saw the film with had never read the books, and when we were leaving, I asked his opinion. He said that he loved it, and in fact enjoyed it more than the Harry Potter movies. Personally, I disagree - and this is my review.
The movie also gave away a few secrets, and I think that may have been because the filmmakers aren't certain whether or not they are going to make any more films. I'm not aware of any filming underway for a second set of "Unfortunate Events", so the kids portraying Violet, Klaus and Sunny will, and likely have, already outgrown their characters. Perhaps the filmmakers gave these secrets away believing that the story they were telling needed more resolution than it had. In any event, if they do make more films, it will be interesting to see how they handle the divulging of these secrets.
If I had never read the books, I think I would have "loved" the movie too. However, I've read all of them, and while the filmmakers did a very good job recreating the spirit of Snickett's work, they didn't do an excellent one. Hence the four star review. (Four stars means very good - five stars means excellent, or superlative. At least in my book.)
In which adults are inmates running the asylum....
bensmomma | Ann Arbor, Michigan | 01/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In Lemony Snicket's world, adults come in two flavors: (a) devious, and (b) well intentioned but frighteningly naive: on the one hand there is the evil Count Olaf (plus henchlings), who will disguise himself as anyone and do anything to get his hands on the Baudelaire orphans' fortune. On the other there are various relatives of the Baudelaire children (Meryl Streep, Billy Connolley, etc.), all of whom seem unequipped to deal with the real world and its treacheries.
Ironically, dear readers, the Baudelaire children themselves are completely capable of spotting the evil in the world and in finding their way around it. Every time Olaf (Jim Carrey)pops up it takes the kids about 2 seconds to see what he's up to, and after some Unfortunate Events, to get the best of him.
The whole thing seems to take place in some Edward-Gorey-Tim-Burtony-gothic alternative universe (the film is really fun to LOOK at, the costumes and sets are great). Yes, Jim Carrey is over-the-top, but in this part it sort of *works*: it seems right, somehow, that the kids (and the audience) can see in a split second it's the same old Count Olaf and the same old Jim Carrey, but the adults in the film cannot.
This is, readers, as it should be, and your kids will enjoy watching it with you (they do love the feeling they might be smarter than you, after all). The smallest ones may be frightened at several points (the leaping leeches, for example), but everyone else will find it a fine evening out.
A Wonderful Wonderful Movie!
Ed Mich | New York | 12/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alot of people are going to hate me after this, but the worst problem with "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" is Jim Carrey, but I don't think the role of Count Olaf was meant for him. I like Jim Carrey, and I think he's very talented. He proves he can do great comedy, like in "The Mask" and "Bruce Almighty," and he proved that he could great do drama, like "The Truman Show" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," but he is just too big of a star for this movie. He was doing his own thing throughout, and while everybody else was on one level, he was on another, and the two didn't mix very well. I mentioned in my review for "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" that the second half of 2004 has been great visually. "Hero," "House of Flying Daggers," and now "Lemony Snicket" have great things to watch, and I think this movie actually requires a second viewing so you can look around and find all the little visual quirks you might have mixed. Look around the front hall when the children enter the home of Count Olaf. Paintings on the wall, the staircase. It's almost like you are stepping into a brand new world.
The movie is based on a seris of books. There are 13 in the seris overall, but only 11 have been written. This movie covers three of the books. "The Bad Beginning," "The Reptile Room," and "The Wide Window." I've read the books, and the movie covers the basic idea, but not word for word, and we jump the first book to the second to the third and back to the first again. We begin with the voice of Lemony Snicket at his typewriter, writing the story of the three Baudelaire children. There is Violet, who loves to invent, and whenever she is getting ready to invent something, she ties a ribbon to get the hair out of her eyes. There is Klaus, who loves to read, and is able to retain all the information he gets from books. Then there is baby Sunny, who has two teeth, and can bite anything. They always find her hanging from the table. She speaks in baby talk, and we get subtitles to translate what she says. Their parents die in a fire, and the banker Mr. Poe brings the children to live with their closet relative, and it's their parents third cousin four times removed or their fourth cousin three times removed. Whichever order, their relative is Count Olaf, a tall, actor with the tatoo of an eye on his ankle. He makes the children do chores, and cook roast beef dinners for his acting group, but his intentions are to kill the children and collect the fortune that their parents left behind. He tries to kill them, fails, and they get sent to live with their Uncle Monty, who is going to bring them on a trip to Peru, an animal lover with snakes, in cages, all over his house. Eventually they are sent to live with their safety freak Aunt Josephine, who doesn't like to open door with the knobs because she is scared that they will shatter and pieces will go into you eyes, and she doesn't like to cook things on the stove because she's scared that it'll blow up, so she feeds herself and the children cold cucumber soup. No matter where they go, they are always persued by Count Olaf, always in a different disguise, with his acting group not far behind, always with a clever trick up his sleeve to get that money.
Besides Jim Carrey, "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" has some all star cast members. People that you see all the time, but don't know their names. There is Catherine O'Hara as Olaf's neighbor. Cedric the Entertainer as a police officer. Olaf's theatre group includes Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Adams, Luis Guzmen, and Craig Ferguson. These names may not mean anything, but if you see the movie, you'll recongize them right away. The music is something else to see. Thomas Newmen is a brilliant composer. He did the music for one of my favorite movies, "American Beauty." His music gives such a gloomy feel, but you can't help but smile at it's genius. Stay for closing credits and listen, and you'll fall in love. I have been trying to rack my brain figuring out who would have made a better Count Olaf, but I can't think of any. Carrey also brings to much comedy to the roll, something that takes away much of the seriousness to the character. Olaf is not a nice person. He lies, cheats, steals, and kills to get his way, and you don't use those characteristics when you think about Jim Carrey.
Every single adult in this move, except for Count Olaf, is plain stupid. They just don't listen, which is a big problem in life. It's ironic that the children are always right, and the adults roll their eyes. What's so great about the film, is that Count Olaf uses the stupidity of these adults for his own benefit. Everything is connected to everything else. When Olaf is disguised, a person like you and me can see right through him, but not these characters. If they have any suspision that he is an imposter, they think that he is somebody completely different. It's darkly comic, and disturbing to think something like that could really happen. "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" is a very good movie, aside from Carrey's unwantedness. He simply was not right for the role. Maybe a John Malkovich type would have fit better. It's enough to bypass that performance, and just let the visuals wash all over you. I would see a sequal, because this movie doesn't tie up all the lose ends, and I'm glad that they are different from the book seris, otherwise, we would all know exactly how it ends, or if it doesn't end. Lemony Snicket was with the voice of Jude Law, as the 2004 Jude Law film festival concludes. This year alone, he's in "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," "I Heart Huckabees," "Alfie," "Closer," "Lemony Snicket," and "The Aviator," and he has become one of my favorite actors. His narration is perfect for this film, and his addition if truely wanted. Not one of the best films of the year, but certainly one of the most entertaining.
rated PG for thematic elements, scary situations and brief language."