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  • Some movies are just plain fun to watch. This is one.

    It's funny, it's dramatic and it's a great visual treat with Tim Burton-esquire wild images throughout. This is a superb job of combining great visuals, special effects and an entertaining story.

    The two kids, played by Emily Browning and Liam Aiken, should get top billing since they are in every scene while Jim Carrey is in about half.

    Everyone in this film is a hoot, especially Carrey who plays "Count Olaf" and then disguises himself by pretending to be other people throughout the story. Whomever he was playing he was hilarious. With his crazy persona, Carrey was good choice for this role. The lines he delivers are so hammy they make me just laugh out loud. I appreciated his work even more on the second viewing.

    The kids are likable, good-looking and decent actors and the "baby" is given the funniest "lines" in the movie - all in subtitles.

    This film is too dark for the little kids but fun for adolescents on up. There is almost no profanity in here and no sex. The sets are particularly strange and interesting, from the various houses to the clothing to the computer-enhanced scenery, with gorgeous colors. Make no mistake: this is a very pretty film with so many fascinating objects in here to view that even multiple viewings can't possibly pick them all up.

    Obviously, there is a lot to like. I hope there is a sequel.
  • Having read none of the Lemony Snickett books, I was unsure of what to expect from this film.

    The film begins with a gentle introduction that quickly turns into a humorous, but noteworthy, disclaimer that the following film has dark underlying themes. The main characters are introduced (the three children) and almost instantly we are subjected to the news of the first in a series, or unfortunate events. The film is fast paced and sends the children from one unfortunate situation to another, with Jude Law doing a splendid job of narrating the story along the way. The children a likable and resourceful characters with good chemistry between the actors. You genuinely feel they care about each other and have a great desire to help each other out of these incredible situations.

    The real star of the show of course is Jim Carrey. This film provides the perfect platform for Mr Carrey to do what he does best, goof around and play over the top and outlandish characters. In this role Jim Carrey excels, never goofing off to much to undermine the credibility of the character, but being suitably over the top to convey the eccentric old count.

    Visually, the film is stunning, the sets look straight out of a Tim Burton film, the costumes are fantastic, the direction is splendid and does a fine job of progressing the story. The visual effects are tremendous and fit in with the tale perfectly, never distracting nor undermining.

    This film is quite dark for a children's film, but not dark in a sinister way, but dark in a spooky hallowe'en sort of way that kids love. Watching the film reminded me of reading Rhoal Dahl books as a child, with the over the top characters and out of this world situations.

    The plot of the film is fast paced, but contains good character development and plenty of action and adventure. I would recommend this film to children and adults alike.
  • In the wake of Harry Potter the popular Lemony Snicket books have been rushed into production and considering the less than promising prospect of Brad Silberling directing and Jim Carrey starring, I didn't really hold out much hope. It turns out that the film is surprisingly good and apart from The Incredibles this was the only big budget Hollywood film I truly enjoyed this year.

    Like Harry Potter, the Lemony Snicket books appeal to adults as well as to children but they are darker, funnier and more eccentric, making them more of a cult than the mainstream success of the Harry Potter series.

    If you've read the books, you may miss the clever word play and you may feel that the two older children are miscast. Unlike in the books, the boy doesn't come across as particularly brainy and the girl looks just a bit too sexy as Violet, reminiscent of a teenage Anjelina Jolie. Still they are better than some of the child actors in the Harry Potter series.

    On a visual level the film is simply stunning. True, some of it is reminiscent of Tim Burton as both Burton and Daniel Handler are strongly influenced by the work of the writer and illustrator Edward Gor ey. The look of the film is a highly stylized mixture of Edwardian times and the 1950's and convincingly brings to life the parallel universe of the books, where death is ever present and where the whole world has conspired to make the Baudelaire children's life a misery.

    Folding books two and three into the storyline of the first one, the plot feels episodic but it stays consistently entertaining. Not being a Jim Carrey fan I was worried about his involvement (I still think Richard E. Grant would have been the perfect choice) but he nails and certainly looks the part of evil, failed thespian Count Olaf and thankfully he doesn't end up dominating the film, turning it into the Jim Carrey show.

    The section involving Meryl Streep's fearful Aunt Josephine is the best part of the film. Taking place against backdrops reminiscent of Masaki Kobayashi's stylish horror classic Kwaidan, Lake Lachrymose is as beautiful as it is nightmarish.

    Make sure to stay for the beautifully animated credit sequence.
  • pegeenmame17 December 2004
    Warning: Spoilers
    How to make A movie off of such a series of thirteen books (eleven, at the present), which are deceivingly simple, yet filled with so many angles and hidden messages, symbolism, and very literary I will admit, is definitely a challenge. So my hat is off to Brad Silberling (the director), the screenwriter, Robert Gordon, and others for taking a stab at it. For they came up with a very decent film, if not what I had anticipated or hoped for.

    That is because, in my opinion, they are the kind of books that if each reader were asked to write a screenplay for them or direct a film of the Series of Unfortunate Events, each person's version would almost certainly differ greatly. They are just those kind of books. Very broad and open to interpretation, in a sense.

    I certainly expected the film to be much darker than it turned out to be - with its somewhat hopeful ending. That is the appeal of the books, after all, the overwhelming dreariness of the Baudelaire's cyclic circumstances.

    The emphasis in this film seemed to be on the art - the costumes, sets, lighting, FX, properties, even the creative and amusing end credits (if you get the opportunity, sit through them). Visually it was a very strong film, a fantastic film to feast one's eyes upon.

    Furthermore I enjoyed all the character parts, especially Meryl Streep as Aunt Josephine, and of course, Jim Carrey as the heinous and exceedingly repugnant (dare I type his name???) Count Olaf. I don't think the role of THE villain in Daniel Handler's tales could have been more perfectly cast. Jim Carrey IS Brett Helquist's illustration and Handler's monster come to life. Whenever there were shots of Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) with his face in close proximity to Violet, or Aunt Josephine, or anyone else, I kept thinking to myself "How can they stand being that close to him? How can they stand the foul odor that must be exuding from his sinister mouth?" Maybe I am too into these books...

    I guess that's why I was disappointed with the majority of reviewers who reviewed this film. They obviously have never read the books, or they would not have complained about Carrey's performance being very show-offy, in-the-face, vain, egotistical, over-the-top, contrived, just too much to take, fake - THAT IS Count Olaf in the books. That IS exactly who he is. If only they could have know that and then perhaps they might have more enjoyed the film.

    I think the film gave me an appreciation for the books that I didn't have before because of the fact they skipped over so many of the seemingly unimportant scenes, and altered many of the crucial ones.

    Jude Law was a good choice as narrator. I was surprised that they introduced the V.F.D. already. My brother and I both agree that the opening sequence featuring the Littlest Elf was hilarious. For anyone who has read the books, they will probably find the film very different in flavor from the books, but readers and non-readers alike should enjoy the movie very much, in any case. It was a shame Sunny's character was used mostly as comic relief, but the twins who played her were absolutely adorable.

    So there's some hodge-podge comments from an eager Canuck on the Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events movie.
  • I first heard of these books when I saw my younger brother reading them. I got curious and when I saw they were making a movie was sure to read the first three before seeing it. Right off the bat, I can tell you that if you are a completely possessive fan of these books you might be rather disappointed by this movie. The movie condenses books "The Bad Beginning," "The Reptile Room," and "The Wide Window" by slicing the first book in half and placing the other two inside of it, like a sandwich. Of course in order for this to be possible the story has to change to make it work, so some elements are not factual. Combine this with Snicket's usually clever details in the book having to be cut down and very loyal fans are going to be disappointed. The movie also adds in a subplot that the first three books do not possess, but that the later ones (according to my brother) do, so I was a bit bothered by having that element ruined if i choose to read more of the series. I, however, understand the difference between books and movies, and think that on the whole they succeeded in keeping the tone and uniqueness of this series. Carrey as Olaf is wonderful and adds something to a character that seems to be rather dry in the books and the children are believable and easy to sympathize with. While humor was scarce, the tone of the books is more clever than humorous anyway. Overall my only issues are plot-wise and how this creates a choppy feel to the film, but I don't know of a way it could have been done better. The movie was well done with(as many are saying) excellent scenery, costumes, etc., yet nothing made this film completely amazing. It is however, worth the time and money and one should definitely read the books. ~Steven C
  • Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events was a silent hit of 2004, I remember I wasn't too sure if I wanted to see it or not because it just looked too dark for what I thought it was intended to be, a family film. But I was looking for a movie to watch yesterday and decided to go ahead and give the movie a chance. While I still think it was too dark for a family film, I thought that it was still a great film and the crew did a remarkable job of bringing the story to life. Normally while Jim Carrey can over do his roles that have this type of character, he actually portrayed Count Orlof extremely well and did a terrific job. I'm in some ways surprised that he didn't get more notice for this film. He, Meryl Streep, Billy O'Connelly really brought Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events to life. The sets and costumes were marvelous and the story was a frightening but imaginative one that I'm sure any film fan would enjoy to watch.

    Three children: Klas, Violet, and Sunny have just lost their parents and home to a horrible fire. They are left in the hands of one of their "closest" friends, the scary looking and crazy Count Orlof. The count makes the kids do his chores and makes them cook dinner for him and his friends, but the one thing he does want is the children's inheritance from their parents. After attempting to kill them, they are taken to a safer guardian, but Orlof isn't going to give up so easily, he is going to go through as many guardians as it takes to get back these children.

    Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a terrific film, I was incredibly impressed, I'm glad I decided to give it a chance. It had good comic relief, but also had some thrilling moments, while I don't think it's a good idea to give this film completely to the kids, it's a family thriller type of film that I'm sure could be enjoyed. I know there are a lot of kids that wanna have a more grown up genre they could watch and this might be the film for them. I do recommend it for watch, this film is definitely worth the look. Not to mention, for once it was nice that they didn't over do it with the baby comedy, she was actually cute and funny. You'll see what I mean when you watch it, you'll be happy too, the kids are very likable and so are the rest of the characters.

  • First, let it be declared that in the media of movie, it is a downright shock that Nickelodeon's monicker appears in this film. It is by far, the best film they have ever made. Second, it is probably the only movie you will see made for children (supposedly) and containing a claymation elf holding a rifle.

    Second, let it be known that this movie is the most visually pleasing children's (live-action) film any of us will see for years. The costume design is amazing, from the strap-laden sunny to the neo-Gothic formality of Violet, and especially in the under-appreciated and subtle '60s formal-casual of Klaus, who looks like a miniature Harold from "Harold and Maude". The sets are equally beautiful, a spree of Burtonesque Gothic-Modern Post-Industrial Asymmetry, from the half formed carnage of The burnt Baudelaire Mansion to the perfectly executed closing credits, animated to perfection. Cinematography also plays an amazing roll on the parts of Violet and Klaus, where ingenious images are used to insert the audience into the minds of the genius Baudelaires.

    Last, the performances, only two that everyone has't heard; Jude Law's perfect narration, and The Hoffman Twins astonishing performance as Sunny. Law's performance is so on target that it never occurs that this voice is not the elusive and enigmatic pseudonym himself. He is the perfect compliment to the often exciting or disturbing actions being inflicted upon the accurately charming and intelligent Baudelaires. as for Sunny, they have performed the impossible in giving a perfect performance to an infant from an infant, in both the physical acting and the ingenious form of translation. The sequels are sure to be the greatest of series, even if the events be unfortunate as they have been.

    As an artist, this reviewer cannot help but give this movie a 10/10. It is his deep desire that you appreciate it as much as he, if not, well... ... that is rather... ... unfortunate.
  • colonel_green17 December 2004
    Before entering the theatre, I'd never glanced at any of the "Lemony Snicket" books. I'd never even heard of them. Having seen the film, I'll make it a priority to take a look. The film has a strong "Harry Potter" feel, what with the heroic, much put-upon British children, and the fantastical setting. If J.K. Rowling had cast Lord Voldemort as a nefarious villain out to steal the Potter family fortune, and made Ron and Hermione Harry's siblings, I imagine it would look something like this. Jim Carrey swallows huge chunks of scenery in his portrayal of Count Olaf, one of the most despicable villains to grace the silver screen in a while. The four child actors are all superb, especially the very attractive Emily Browning as the inventor, Violet. The film comes with a wonderfully disturbing climax, and a enjoyably happy epilogue that hints at many future misfortunes for the Baudelaire children. I'll be there. 9/10.
  • The end credits is a ten minute long cartoon of such incredible beauty that it is a great shame that most people will never watch it. Simply its some of the best animation to come out all year.

    While I can give the end credits a 10 out of 10 I can only give the rest of the film a begrudging 7 out of 10, although it should probably be a 6.5. Certainly this is a fantastically well made movie, that is for the most part very well acted but something is amiss in the tone of the film and so it never really is what it should be.

    The story of three children who's parents are killed and who are forced from guardian to guardian by the murderous acts of Count Oloff is pretty bleak. And with a title like "A Series of Unfortunate Events" you really can't expect dancing elves, but the film makers have chosen to add a vein of madcap silliness to the proceedings that works against the rest of the film. It seems as if they were afraid that the material was going to be seen as too dark, which is a shame since its clear from the sequences where they left well enough alone that the film could have stood on its own.

    Its a good movie, instead of the great one it wants to be.

    Definitely worth seeing.
  • ec11cd18 December 2004
    OK...I really enjoyed the film and I felt it captured everything I wanted it to about the books and more. However, and while it may be an odd thing to say, is that was the best set of credits I've ever seen.

    They were beautifully done, well done to whoever it was that created them...the artwork was spectacular and the animation perfectly in tune with the tone of the books.

    very entertaining...well done!

    In addition I would like to add than Jim Carrey fitted the role of Count Olaf perfectly, and while I may not be a huge fan of his previous work he provided the much needed humour to keep the story moving the watcher intrigued
  • If your childhood was anything like mine, at some point you whined to your parents or another adult, "That's not fair!"--at which point the adult blithely retorted, "Life's not fair." A hard lesson, sure, but one we all learn eventually--life isn't fair; people die, bad things happen to good people, and justice isn't always served. Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" books, in which siblings Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire start off being orphaned by a fire and then having things go downhill from there, embraces that philosophy with a dark, sly humor that is irresistible. Fortunately, Brad Silberling has kept the spirit of the series mostly intact with this film translation.

    The movie encompasses Snicket's first three books, in which Violet (Emily Browing), Klaus (Liam Aiken), and Sunny are foisted off on several guardians by the dimwitted executor of their parents' estate (Timothy Spall). The first and worst of these is Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), a thorough scoundrel who's after the kids' immense inheritance. The children manage to escape, and over the course of the film encounter a kindly snake enthusiast (Billy Connolly) and an ultra-hypochondriac (Meryl Streep), each of whom try to look after the children in their own way. But mostly the Baudelaires look after themselves, each resourceful in their own way--Violet invents contraptions with whatever is at hand, Klaus is a reference desk unto himself, and baby Sunny practices her teething on whatever (or whoever) is convenient. The trio share the sort of unique bond that can only come from having survived a long string of misadventures. Olaf pursues them throughout, aided by disguises which he considers brilliant and which fool everyone except, of course, the ever-observant Baudelaires.

    Most of the elements which make Snicket's books so appealing are present here: the entertaining characters, the cleverness of the children, Snicket's delightful black humor (given voice by Jude Law), and even the cunning reverse-psychology promotional scheme of the series (in which the reader/viewer is told, no really, you DON'T want to hear this story, go find something more cheerful, etc.). Carrey gleefully gnaws the scenery as Olaf, and indeed with such a character he can do no less. Browning and Aiken are quite appealing, but the real scene stealer is Sunny (played by twins Kara and Shelby Hoffman). Sunny does not actually speak, but her coos and gurgles are translated via subtitle in a dry and witty manner (another inspiration taken from the series). The production design (combining the best parts of Tim Burton and Edward Gory) creates a fanciful but accessible world which modern inventions like remote car-keys are wielded by characters who dress like they just stepped out of a Victorian melodrama.

    It is perhaps too much to ask that the film could have avoided a Hollywood-style attempt to soften its delightfully dreary outlook, or that Carrey could have gone the entire movie without having at least one sequence in which he's just required to be Jim Carrey. But this is kept to a minimum--as Violet herself says, there really is more good than bad here.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It was wonderful. I'm sorry, skeptics, but it really was.

    The costumes were really unique. I liked how they seemed to draw inspiration from several different time periods.

    I really loved Liam Aiken and Emily Browning as Klaus and Violet Baudelaire- even though they didn't fit my mental images of the characters, they proved themselves over and over again throughout the course of the film. Emily Browning has a history of doing excellent films, and after seeing her in the comparatively small role of Ned Kelly's sister I had a lot of faith in her. I wasn't quite as sure about Liam Aiken because I hadn't seen any of his work, but I was pleasantly surprised.

    Sunny Baudelaire (as played by Kara and Shelby Hoffman) was just done perfectly. Everybody in the cinema laughed at the subtitles. I seriously didn't think that it was possible for two-year-olds to be good at acting, but the Hoffman twins convinced me otherwise.

    The musical score was brilliantly done and the sets were, in a word, epic. I felt *dizzy* whenever there were panoramic shots of Lake Lachrymose, for heaven's sakes! There were some scenes which were not in the books- such as the theme of sanctuary, the spyglasses, the lost letter from the Baudelaire parents. As a Lemony Snicket obsessive I expected to fume at these scenes, but they worked wonderfully.

    Keep an eye out for the hilarious 'Littlest Elf' sequence at the beginning and the amazing animated credits (complete with a song from the film 'The Addams Family', possibly a nod to Barry Sonnenfield, who is credited as a producer).

    I am giving this film a 9 out of 10 simply because I am a fan of the books and there were a couple of story details I felt could have been communicated better.

    Excellent stuff! If there are any sequels, they can only improve.
  • First of all, let me go on record saying that I think this is a wonderfully entertaining film. The sets and costumes are perfect; even the little details like the odd instruments on the car dashboard were carefully thought through for their effect. Jim Carrey is perfect as Count Olaf and his disguises, partially because he has always been adept at creating convincing odd characters with his flexible face and voice. The kids were likable, even the cute baby. Thomas Newman's score is a quirky mix that's just right for the film. (I want to ask him if there's a reason why one of his themes sounds like "We Three Kings" gone awry.) I'm writing this comment primarily to respond to the wacky criticisms of LEMONY that I've been reading here on IMDb. Most fall into two categories: 1) people who don't "get" the movie and haven't read the books (and therefore are offended by its dark tone), or 2) adolescents who are obsessed with the books and are disappointed that their little dreams of how the movie should be haven't been perfectly realized (e.g., "the boy doesn't have glasses, so this movie stinks").

    Let me address the second group. WAKE UP!! The Lemony Snicket books are a pre-packaged, heavily-marketed series that was deliberately created to appeal to your age group...the Harry Potterites. Unlike the history of J. Rowling and the Potter books, the Snicket books were the result of some money-mad marketing guru coming up with the idea and finding a writer to execute it.

    The Snicket series is not "classic children's literature," although I must say that the actual author has done a fun job with the idea (yes, I have read several of the books, in case you're wondering). One Snicket book does NOT equal one Potter book in length or quality; therefore it's perfectly suitable that they put three Snickets together for this movie. The little gimmicks that made the early books amusing (the author's asides to define words, the translations of the baby's gurgles) become tediously annoying tics in the later books. And if you're going to have a tantrum because someone's hair isn't the color you imagined, or an actor is taller than you thought he should be, WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD of movie adaptations! Perhaps if someone took liberties with Jane Austen, Dickens, or Tolstoy, it would be worth getting upset...but this is LEMONY SNICKET, for crying out loud! Read some real books for a change; not just cynically contrived kiddie lit designed to make big bucks with marketing deals and product tie-ins.

    And to the first group I say...lighten up and read a couple of the Snicket books before you lament about the "dark tone," or the abuse of children, etc., etc. It's part of the joke, and one of the aspects of the books that the producers did a good job conveying on screen. In fact, the movie even softened the tone a bit with the touching flashbacks about the missing parents, building a "sanctuary," etc.

    And what's with the wonderful, yet thrown-away closing credits? Seems to me these were made for the opening, but they realized that they would conflict with the "faux" Elf movie that starts the film. As someone else said, this is one of the most delightful parts of the film, but my son and I were the only ones who stayed to watch! DON'T LEAVE THE THEATER 'TIL IT'S OVER!
  • My Take: Jim Carrey at his outrageous self. An superb adaptation of the Snicket chronicles.

    I honestly say that I have always liked Jim Carrey's comedy movies, and he's also one of my favorite comedians (though I'm not much of a comedy fan). "Liar Liar" and "Bruce Almighty" were amongst my favorites of Carrey's wild antics. But when I viewed this film, I was surprised to see Jim Carrey in a whole new look. His performance here was of the villainous Count Olaf, and he was more than just making me laugh, but also a villainous character. He's really a villain here, but yet, you can't help but actually laugh at some of his antics. This is really he's best performance that I've seen. Surely, there would be more, but this is by far the best that I've seen (Though I haven't seen "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind").

    Do I need to say that this movie was great? For I already see that many agree with me on that. A very colorful production, with excellent costume design, make-up and special effects, and yet, also a wonderful story, well pressed from Lemony Snicket's "unfortunate" account on the Baudelaire siblings. I wouldn't mind a franchise myself. There are still a few other books still left, so why not?

    Rating: **** out of 5.
  • This has been playing on HBO/Cinemax forever, but I just always avoided seeing it...Jim Carrey, the darkness (both of the story and of the film stock) turned me off. But this morning, with nothing better to do, I finally watched it. And I couldn't stop! It's one of those gems that was a victim of its own promotion and never really found an audience.

    It is dark, and yet I think I would have really liked it when I was a kid. I've never read the books, though I've certainly heard of them. The Edward Gory-like end credits are fabulous, as is the art direction--in these ways, the film reminds me of a Tim Burton-lite. This film sort of has a "Big Fish" feel to it.

    I think what I liked the most was that these kids depend on two things: persistence and knowledge, to help them along. In this age of Paris Hilton wannabes, that's really refreshing.

    Anyway, read other reader reviews for more about the story, but if you've just never thought you'd like it, try it out. I was really surprised by the joy I found in watching it.
  • I've been a huge fan of these books since middle school, so naturally, I awaited the movie with some trepidation. Would be as disappointing as the Potter films? Would they get the story and characters right? I sat down in the theater to be greeted by cheerfully saccharine musical number involving a claymation elf, and I grinned as the happiness was cut short by Snicket's humorously dark narration. These filmmakers knew what they were doing.

    The story was adapted very well. You don't need to be intimately familiar with the books to understand what's going on. Even though the plot changed somewhat, it all served to make the story work better on screen. Some scenes were cut or changed altogether, but all the great characters were done justice(though it seems, alas, that jusice will never do anything to Count Olaf.) The child actors were very likable and relatable, and conveyed a real sibling chemistry. Carrey's Olaf was hilariously over the top, as he is in the book, yet frightening and menacing. It's a difficult balance, because the villain really is kind of absurd, but sometimes, he does something so menacing you really take him seriously. Props to Carrey.

    The highlight of this movie for me was the soundtrack. It truly captured the unique feel of Snicket's world. Just listen to the "VFD" track, which sounds like a particularly haunting music box, and you'll feel yourself getting whisked off to this strange mirror of our own world where lies danger and mystery. The soundtrack sweeps through bars of mournful cellos that convey the dark quirkiness of the world.

    The costumes and sets were also great. The books don't take place in any particular time. Technology ranges from very modern to very old fashioned. The movie did a great job in using costumes that were a bit of a twist on victorian styles fused in a world with modern sensibilities. It was a great look and feel In short: I want Violet's dress.

    The inclusion of Snicket's narration was a real treat. It has always been one of my favorite parts of the book. Seeing Mr. Snicket in the flesh (even if it was only a silhouette, or from the back), sneaking around a clock tower to write down the depressing chapters of the Baudelaire's story was great. Jude Law captured Snicket's voice very well.

    This is a fine example to all other filmmakers who wish to make successful adaptations of beloved books. They really outdid themselves.
  • I just watched this film and to be honest it exceeded all expectations, i started watching this film and didn't know what to expect as i hadn't read the books and had no past knowledge of what it was about..

    but i thought the acting was awesome, especially from Jim Carrey who i didn't even realise was in the film till the credits at the end..

    The story line was very good with a lot of funny bits which kept me entertained and hooked all the way through..

    i would highly recommend watching this film whether it is with your family or just to watch on a quiet night in and would almost guarantee enjoyment
  • The movie was decent. I enjoyed it, certainly. Technically it was outstanding. Casting was good, sets were outstanding, costumes were very nice.

    As an adaptation of the books, however, this was horrendous. It was as if the writer had torn a quarter of the pages from the first three books, a few pages from books 4-9, and pasted them together in a random fashion to try and create a cohesive movie. Now, had I not read the books, I would have enjoyed this movie very much, so I have to give that to them, but as a fan, it was just a slap in the face.

    If you've read the books, don't see the movie, it will just enrage you. If you haven't, see the movie. It'll be very enjoyable. If, however, you decide to read the books afterwards, be aware that they are far darker than the movie shows, and the mystery is certainly deeper than some magnifying glass in Count Olaf's house. Do not think of them as kid stuff.

    7.5/10 for the movie, 2/10 for the adaptation.
  • When Klaus, Violet and Sunny Baudelaire loose their parents in a fire in their mansion, the greedy and evil Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) tries to become their guardian to steal their fortune.

    This movie is a great family entertainment. Jim Carrey is amazing in the role of Count Olaf, in my opinion, the villain of the year. The screenplay of this story of orphans is very original; the make-up of Jim Carrey is spectacular; the very dark cinematography recalls the movies of Tim Burton; the direction is great and the children have excellent performances. There is a light message that children are never listened, no matter whether they have reason or not. My vote is nine.

    Title (Brazil): "Desventuras em SĂ©rie" ("Unfortunate Events in Series")
  • It's old hat for me at this point, but once again, let me remind those who have forgot--it doesn't matter one whit if this film has changed anything contained in the books (please see my "novel to film mini-rant", marked in bold red in my user profile). For me, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is an excellent film, regardless of how closely it "matches" the Daniel Handler books that form the creative basis. The film deserves a 10 for production design alone, but there is much more to it than that. If you're at all a fan of surrealism, especially surrealism with a dark edge (although the film is certainly not without humor), you can't afford to miss this movie.

    The story is centered on the Baudelaire kids, Violet (Emily Browning), Klaus (Liam Aiken) and infant Sunny (played by twins Kara and Shelby Hoffman). In a move that could be a satire on the typical Disney scenario, they're left orphans when a fire tragically destroys their home and kills their parents. The film tells the story of how they are shuttled from home to home of different "relatives", with the particularly manipulative and sadistic Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) in hot pursuit of the Baudelaire family fortune after the state finally sees the error of its ways in leaving the kids with him.

    If you think of the "Do you think it's all right to leave the boy with Cousin Kevin?" section of Ken Russell's Tommy (1975) stretched out into feature length, made a bit less vicious, sprinkled with liberal doses of Roald Dahlian fantasy, and set in a delightfully anachronistic mishmash alternate universe that combines everything from Victorian fashion sensibilities to postmodern "retro-tech" Terry Gilliam-like gadgets, you'll have a good idea of what the film is like. Tonally and in its visual surrealism, A Series of Unfortunate Events is like a very dark and brooding Dr. Seuss. It also bears some resemblance to the visual art styles of Charles Addams and Edward Gory (IMDb's auto-spell correction won't let me spell his name correctly), as well as animation styles such as Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).

    As that collection of references should make clear, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is in "parental guidance" territory. Even though Handler's books are clearly marketed as children's fiction, and the film was also pitched towards a young audience, the material is darker, more twisted and maybe a bit too intense than some parents would like for their pre-teens, not to mention that younger kids may likely find it boring, anyway. But if you or your kids like your fairy tales on the more macabre side, Lemony Snicket will be right up your alley.

    Which is not to say that this is a horror film, exactly, although in ways the Baudelaire kids' misadventures do resemble a nightmare (and Count Olaf's name and appearance bear a resemblance to the portrayal of Count Dracula in Nosferatu (1922), called Graf Orlok in that masterpiece). But Violet, Klaus and Sunny (their last name, by the way, is a reference to Charles Baudelaire, whose quirkily morbid poetry was to 19th Century romantic literature as A Series of Unfortunate Events is to contemporary children's literature) solve their dilemmas through cunning, using their respective strengths--ingenious invention for Violet, a wealth of book knowledge for Klaus, and biting for Sunny. The message throughout the film tends to be that intellect can overcome any conundrum--and that even goes for the villain; he just has a bit less intellect than the Baudelaire kids.

    The actors playing the Baudelaire kids are good, and the rest of the cast contains a lot of stars—Carrey, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law, Billy Connolly, Catherine O'Hara, Luis Guzman, and so on. While that might sound like a bloated roster, they're made good use of through the episodic nature of the story. Most are only in the film in their segments. All show why they are stars, even if a couple, such as Hoffman and Guzman, aren't given much to do. The only aspect you might find off-putting is if you're not a Jim Carrey fan, as he does his usual schtick here, albeit far more dark and twisted--a bit like the "evil" Mask (1994), only not as hyper. I love Carrey's usual manic-comic mode, and I also love dark and twisted, so I had no complaints.

    Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a technical exemplar in every department. The direction and editing are flawless. Thomas Newman's score is attractive and perfectly fits the mood of the film. But what I continually found the most stunning was the production design. The sets, props, costumes, matte paintings, cgi environments and so on are all wonderfully imaginative and beautiful--even the stuff that was purposefully very desolate, gray and drab. Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography is fine, although it would probably be difficult to execute a bad shot amidst all of the visual marvels. The anachronisms are seamlessly integrated. Even though our cast is wearing mostly Victorian garments and driving classic automobiles, complete with dashboard mini-reel-to-reel players, it all feels very natural.

    Although this film did respectably at the box office, it didn't do near as well as it should have (especially considering its budget). I think it may have been a bit mismarketed. It deserves a first look or a second chance, but try to get it out of your mind that it's primarily for the young--it's instead for the "child" in all of us.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events starts as three young children, Violet (Emily Browning), her brother Klaus (Liam Aiken) & their sister Sunny Beaudelaire (Kara & Shelby Hoffman) are given the bad news that their parents have been killed in a fire which has burnt their house to the ground. They are adopted by a distant relative, the strange actor Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) who wants to kill them off to inherit their parents fortune. However the siblings quickly realise what Olaf is up to & must stay alert to outwit him & his attempts on their life as they search for the truth behind their parents death...

    This American German co-production was directed by Brad Silberling & is an entertaining enough Tim Burton/Grim Brother's dark fairytale type fantasy but I must admit it left me a bit unsatisfied. The script by Robert Gordon was based on the series of popular children's books Daniel Handler, in particular the first three The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room & The Wide Window were used as the basis for the film, straight off the bat one has to say it's a children's film first & foremost although it's one of those children films which will probably appeal to adults as well. It's quite a grim film on occasion, it has some wonderfully spooky & dark production design & the narrator Lemony Snicket keeps telling us of horrible & terrible things that will happen but (disappointingly) it never goes too far. It certainly moves along at a nice pace, it's never boring but it never really excited me that much, it never really grabbed me, it never really got piqued my interest & it never really pulled me into the dark fantasy world that it creates. I didn't think it funny at all, again maybe because I'm an adult but I didn't laugh once. The character's are good enough, Count Olaf obviously stands out as the villain as he disguises himself as several different people to con his way to a fortune, Aunt Josephine is also memorable for her bizarre irrational fears although it's never quite explained who the narrator Lemony Snicket is.

    Director Silberling does a fine job & shoots the film with lots of neat little visual touches & lots of style, he is obviously helped by some truly wonderful production design from the sets, costumes & props. The designers have gone to town & the film looks great, from foggy beach's with picket fences, Count Olaf's gloomy rundown mansion that looks like something from The Addams Family, Dr. Montgomery's huge reptile sanctuary, Aunt Josephine's impossible house suspended over the edge of a sheer cliff by beams of wood, the speeding train & Count Olaf's sinister hearse looking car to a darkly atmospheric cave & lake. Most of the CGI computer effects are good although the deadly viper snake looks terrible. The violence is minimal so don't worry about that.

    With a supposed budget of about $140,000,000 this wasn't short of money was it? Most of the money seems to have been spent on a good cast & the sumptuous production design which is nothing short of amazing, unfortunately everything else is somewhat harder to find including a satisfying story. Shot entirely within studios the film also features a dummy start where a film called The Little Elf supposedly begins before Lemony interrupts & starts his own story. The acting is good, Carrey was born for roles like this, Meryl Streep is good & Scottish comedian Billy Connolly has a small role.

    Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a good solid & entertaining children's darkly grim fantasy which serves it's purpose well enough, certainly no classic in my opinion but it's definitely worth a watch all the same & it should keep both young & old alike quiet for 100 odd minutes if nothing else.
  • Elswet29 January 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    It seems to me that once a film of a specific genre/subject hits, the rights of every like-minded literary work on the book shelves of Books-A-Million (in this case, the children's section) is snapped up in a whirl-wind of studio shopping sprees. One such series was the enigmatic Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. The books are easily and quickly read, but they are not your customary children's books with the average children's story. These are much darker, and do not provide the happy ending most children's books insist upon.

    Having lost their parents in a horrible fire, the Baudelaire orphans must fend for their lives when sent to live with the nefarious Count Olaf, their murderous uncle. Olaf is a cold, calculating, quirky would-be actor who will stop at nothing to seize the Baudelaire fortune but he discovers he can not touch it until the oldest of the orphans turns 18. Olaf is over the top in the books, and is not above murdering the orphans to achieve his goal.

    This movie confused some movie goers as it was not based on one book alone, but rather the first three of the run. This film succeeds where some other recent children's book adaptations have failed. It is portrayed exactly as the author intended, thanks to dream casting, and solid adaptational screen writing. These literary works are very descriptive from scene to scene, and it transferred perfectly to the screen, thereby surpassing the aforementioned "other children's book adaptations" we have seen lately.

    Barry Sonnenfield brought the beautifully Gothic comedy "The Addams Family" with him as he created the look for the sets and homes which the Baudelaire children would visit, thereby giving it that same numinous feel we all loved so much. It is as if this film were exorcised straight from the Lemony Snicket literary works themselves.

    As I have already mentioned, this movie was an exhibition of dream casting. The Baudelaire children were perfectly cast and portrayed. Meryl Streep is beautiful and tragic as a Baudelaire relative, and Billy Connelly is a delight. Some critics have said that Jim Carrey was "over the top." I agree. He was as over the top as was the character he portrayed. Count Olaf, if you dare read the actual literary work, was as much an over the top character as anyone could imagine. Jim Carrey was perfect as the vituperative Count Olaf and is just as he is in the books.

    All this dark and lovely perfect casting and performances, direction, and writing, is encased in a gossamer but nebulous cloak which conceals the enigmatic Lemony Snicket who tells us of these Unfortunate Events, by way of Jude Law.

    He cautions us time and time again to leave, if we have come for a happy story with a happy ending, thereby making us want to stay all the more. Nice device which works well. Another such device which is developed from the series is providing a dialog for the baby Sunny by way of subtitles. That was brought straight from the books, as Sunny's occasional outbursts of a language only babies understand, often prompts Snicket to offer translations.

    I've enjoyed the books over the years, and although the story is a bit out of sequence and order, this film was absolutely 100% successful in capturing the feel and the pace of the books it attempts to document to film.

    Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events is every bit as quirky and beautifully dark as the Addams Family movies. I found this completely delightful and far superior to most works of this genre.

    I'm a die-hard Harry Potter fan, so it almost hurts my feelings to rate this where it deserves. But in all honesty, it rates a 9/10 from...

    the Fiend :.
  • I cannot understand what series of unfortunate events brought about the making of this horrible film. Among the many unfortunate events, is that people are somehow drawn into throwing good money away to see such an splendidly stupid film. I'm not a fan of Jim Carey anyway, so what I got was pretty much what I expected from him. However the rest of the film was extremely tedious to have to sit through. Slow moving, with a dialogue that leaves much to be desired. The best acting in the whole film was attributed to Meryl Streep and the children. But even those wonderful actors could not save this sinking ship!

    I also think that the ending could have been a little better. Considering what these children went through in the loss of their parents and being pursued by a greedy relation, one would think that a happy ending is a little redundant. Come on, sometimes that works in a film, but not, I think in this situation. I haven't read the books, but believing books to be better than their movie brethren, I know that the movie didn't even begin to touch the authors vision of such a reality. Better luck next time people!!!
  • When I watch a Tim Burton, I almost always walk away with the same reaction: the visual world created in the film is fascinating and arresting, but the story lacks narrative force. When I watch a Tim Burton film, I am reminded throughout that I am experiencing the work of an art director, not the more traditional writer-director.

    When I watched Lemony Snicket, I was left with that timburton feeling. The visual world is stunning and inventive, particularly the sets, but I was not engaged. It felt a little bit like Fellini-for-children, in that the film unfolded like a dream sequence. Each stop in the film's sequence of sets is bizarre, and makes a great creative effort to lure the audience, but the range of emotions played out by the characters at each of those stops seems both limited and stilted. The characters are very animated, but are, ultimately, very flat and uninteresting. I never gave in to my willing-suspension-of-disbelief -- and, trust me, that's usually not very hard to win.

    As you would expect from an art director's creation, the set design and visual effects of Lemony Snicket are the real stars of the film. If that's your cup of tea, then you will probably like this film. It has received a number of admiring reviews, and I'm willing to admit that I might be rewarded with some interesting symbolic insights were I too study this film more closely. The star-sets do create an aura of dark intensity, with a sort of Freudian depth.

    Generally speaking, though, I have a very negative reaction to this film. It represents a class of movies -- most strongly typified by Tim Burton's films -- where too much energy is devoted to the purely visual elements of the work. The directors of this class of film are obviously gifted in the domain of creating unique visual worlds ... but the flimviewing world would be far better off if they would see fit to collaborate with equally talented storytellers.
  • cast_blank23 August 2005
    It's funny, it's interesting, it's creative! I recommend taking a chance on this one- if you like art, if you like Jim Carrey, if you like unique plots.

    I never read any of the books, so perhaps I have an advantage here. First of all, the children are gorgeous and wonderful actors, which is something I marveled at and was drawn into from the very beginning. The baby (or I should say babies? I have just found out it was a set of twins) who played the role of Sunny, was so darling and such a unique sort of jester (I need to be cautious to not belittle the significance of her character, however).

    In my opinion, it was one of Jim's finest roles. I say that because this allowed him so much freedom to really be wild without being too outrageously goofy. The opportunity he took in playing this character is an fantastic and effective display of his talent. And we must not ignore the brilliance of Meryl Streep as Aunt Josephine and Timothy Spall as "the clueless banker (in his wonderful little idiosyncratic contributions I take great delight). However, I could praise each and every one of the actors/actresses because they were all flawless in their roles. And I can't forget to mention that the art and music involved with this film inspire me.

    I laughed, and I laughed, and I laughed. And yet, it was all while feeling pain, pity, compassion, frustration, despair (though Jude's voice did bring me a great deal of comfort).

    I'm in love with this movie. Well done!
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