Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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If you spliced Charles Addams, Dr. Seuss, Charles Dickens, Edward Gorey, and Roald Dahl into a Tim Burtonesque landscape, you'd surely come up with something like Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Many critics (in mostly mixed reviews) wondered why Burton didn't direct this comically morbid adaptation of the first three books in the popular series by Daniel Handler (a.k.a. "Lemony Snicket," played here by Jude Law and seen only in silhouette) instead of TV and Casper veteran Brad Silberling, but there's still plenty to recommend the playfully bleak scenario, in which three resourceful orphans thwart their wicked, maliciously greedy relative Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), who subjects them to... well, a series of unfortunate events. Along the way they encounter a herpetologist uncle (Billy Connolly), an anxious aunt (Meryl Streep) who's afraid of everything, and a variety of fantastical hazards and mysterious clues, some of which remain unresolved. Given endless wonders of art direction, costume design, and cinematography, Silberling's direction is surprisingly uninspired (in other words, the books are better), but when you add a throwaway cameo by Dustin Hoffman, Law's amusing narration, and Carrey's over-the-top antics, the first Lemony movie suggests a promising franchise in the making. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com --This text refers to the UMD Mini for PSP edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Having watched the film this feeling was reinforced.
The introductory sequence shows cute little dancing and singing birds, animals and elves, and then you cut to a warning that this is not a cheerful happy story at all. The author, Lemony Snickett, voiced by Jude Law, warns that it is a tale of three orphans who experience a series of unfortunate events ...
The film is based on the first three books of the series. The three Baudelaire children, Violet, Claus, and baby Sunny, learn at the start of the book that their house has mysteriously burned down and their parents have been killed in the fire. A kindly and well meaning but naive banker called Mr Poe (Timothy Spall) places them with a series of distant relatives as gardians: the evil Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), snake expert Dr Montgomery Montgomery (Billy Connally) and an aunt who is terrified of everything (Meryl Streep.) Count Olaf is a master of disguise who pursues the children around the country in the hope of inheriting their fortune, giving Jim Carrey the opportunity to demonstrate his own uncanny skill in modifying his appearance and mannerisms.
In fact Carrey's ability to appear in several different guises which are similar enough for the viewer (and the children) to recognise that they are all Count Olaf, but different enough that it is just about possible to accept that nobody else recognises him is one of the more impressive parts of the film.Read more ›
First off, the story, despite the huge popularity in America of the children’s books on which it’s based, is really very strange – an orphaned teenage sister & brother and their toddler sister are delivered into the hands of three mentally "deranged" guardians, one of whom is intent on killing them, before they finally retrieve the situation at the point where the most seriously unhinged of the guardians is about to be allowed, by a large group of supposedly trustworthy adults, to marry the 14 year old girl. And, for anyone unfamiliar with the books, the implausibility of it all, coupled with its really quite disturbing undertones, is a major problem. Is this a seriously distorted adult’s view of children or an unnecessarily frightening child’s view of adults? And, on either level, what is going on here?
So that's the bad news... and the good news? Everything else about the film is stunningly brilliant. The cinema photography, set design and production are quite incredible, recreating a visually distorted world in such detail and scale that it's up there with Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" as one of the best examples of gothic cinema ever made. The acting is exceptional, with Jim Carrey delivering a series of wonderfully executed, superbly "evil", and extremely funny cameos, and with the two teenagers contributing quite outstanding performances.Read more ›
The movie starts in Snicket's usual style; we get a warning about the sadness we are about to experience and a recommendation saying we would be better off watching something else. And the mood is somber from the beginning, when the Baudelaires lose their parents. The three orphans are Violet, a very smart girl that is keen on inventing new gadgets, Klaus, a boy that spends a large portion of his time focused on books, and Sunny, the toddler that has four sharp theeth that can bite into almost anything. Now they are faced with the grim situation of having to go live with their closest relative, Count Olaf (Carey), a greedy excentric whose only goal is to get a hold of the orphan's fortune. Thus begins a series of peculiar events, including a staged wedding, a confrontation with a "dangerous" snake, and a fight against leeches.
There are several things that are good about the movie, for example the performance of the three kids and also of Meryl Streep, who plays the role of their aunt. I enjoyed the way in which Sunny's comments are introduced in the film. In the books, these are translated to us by Snicket in his narrator voice, and in the movie we get captions with what she intends to say. On the other hand, I did not like the performance of Jim Carey, I though it was over the top, making Count Olaf a bit more ridiculous than it should really be. When you add to that the changing of the story, I can only give this production 3 stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A favourite film of mine. I also want to read the books. A good children's film that adults will love too but maybe a little scary for very small children.Published 20 days ago by Rachael Firth
What can i say, i caught this on TV as an adult after having never seen it and was hooked at it's quirks. Read morePublished 1 month ago by YouReview
Brilliant, very true to the books, excellent casting and acting throughout.Published 3 months ago by Mr. Dermot F. Ferguson