The worst is knowing how close it was to something marvellous.
This was actually one of my most highly anticipated movies before its release. Back then if I was really anticipating something, I would find as much stuff I could on it. Today I keep myself away from it, so I can totally be taken by the experience of the first viewing. When the behind the scenes videos first hit, well I was very impressed. It looked exactly how I imagined it would.
Like the title foretells, this movie follows a series of unfortunate events. The story revolves around three siblings, the Bauderlaires, who are orphaned after their parents perish in a terrible fire. They are then under the entrusted care of a family friend, Mr. Poe, to find a suitable relative for them. The closest relative he can find for the children is Count Olaf. Now Count Olaf is evil. Why would he take in the Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus and Sunny? They have a great family fortune of course! One Count Olaf makes a mission to get. After slipping up in an attempt to have them killed, Mr. Poe takes the children from him and sends them to a different relative. From here on Count Olaf, being an actor by trade, follows the children. He is like the opposite of Buggs Bunny. Instead of running.. he is chasing. Like Buggs, we can always see right through his awful disguises, as can the Baudelaires. The Baudelaires are always dismissed of their accusations about the Count however. Narrating the Baudelaires story, is the fictional character Lemony Snicket, impeccably played by Jude Law.
As a film it’s a bit too fast paced, it should be expected, pressing the first three books into a single feature film. Thats not the serious fault. For me it’s the secondary characters who we see very little of when they are each rich characters, but are underused greatly. A large portion of the film seemed to be experimental, it didn’t know if it should be a comedy at times or dramatic. There were also subtle leads to a sequel, which seemed to have fizzled.
Jim Carrey can look the part of anyone, he is a man that can embody a hundred different characters easily, the perfect person to play Count Olaf. He like everyone in this film looked as I imagined they would, except Billy Connely. He is a short man in the book. Even still, everyone looks the part of the film. Jim Carrey as much as I love him, spoils his character, trying at every chance for comedy. Which is how this film differs greatly from the book. The tone is deathly darker. The set design and cinematography is amazing, breathtaking from book to screen. The look and feel of this film is where it shines.
I absolutely loathed this film when I left the cinema, I wished I could have unseen it. My reaction was based on the lack of story they told, from the books to the screen. Which didn’t bother me nearly as much as it did when they stuck the end of the first book after the end of the third. Watching it a second time around these things don’t really bother me anymore. I like the film. I can even understand why they did a lot of things the way they did. I still will never be able to watch it without feeling at least a little underwhelmed, seeing how close they came to the vision within the books.
Netflix is currently producing the books into a series and I hope they reboot the whole thing. This film is decent, but the books are leagues above it and therefore read them.
3/5 – Stars for A Series of Unfortunate Events