Time for a little story! When I was younger, probably in my early teens, my mum bought me the first three or four books of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ series by Lemony Snicket. The books themselves were beautiful, especially the hardback editions that I had. They were illustrated and quite dark in style, both design wise and the plot. However, I didn’t really get into the series, only actually ever completing the first one. I do plan on picking up these books again at a library so that I can give them another chance but I don’t think I’ll ever repurchase them. Anyway! The point is that I never watched the film when it came out (almost 10 years ago!) in 2004, and finally bit the bullet and gave it a try today.
Having never read the book series I can’t really comment on how accurate an adaptation this film is but I will just review it honestly as a film in itself. The characters were all very caricatured and funny which I really liked and I think that some of the actors were brilliant, though apart from the children, none were on screen for very long. Surprisingly this had great actors such as Meryl Streep, Timothy Spall and Billy Connelly as side characters, but the most obvious one to mention is of course Jim Carrey. Although it is impossible to like his character in this, Count Olaf, I have to say that his acting and the costume really did suit what I remember from the book and the illustrations. I think that he made a really creepy and strange villain that made you root for all the right people throughout the film.
I didn’t expect the film to cover more than the first book but I can understand why they made this choice, with there being 13 books in the series all together, obviously they couldn’t get all of that into one film.
Plot wise, I think it did dart around a little but overall it was enjoyable enough. I think some parts were a little slow and overall it was trying to build up to a sequel that has, so far, not been made. One of my favourite aspects of the film were the interruptions by the narrator, Lemony Snicket, as he is actually typing out the account of the three children’s lives.
All in all, I would say this is a three star film. It is flawed but enjoyable, probably even more so for a younger audience and it has made me eager to pick up the books.