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Much better than expected
7/10 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.4 years ago
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.
9/10 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. 9/10.4 years ago
10/10 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.4 years ago
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
Quality movie, unless you're a die-hard fan of the books
7/10 I first heard of these books when I saw my younger brother reading4 years ago
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
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
Dark but compelling fantasy adventure
8/10 Having read none of the Lemony Snickett books, I was unsure of what to expect from this film.4 years ago
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.