Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

4.0 56
Director: Brad Silberling

Cast: Brad Silberling, Jim Carrey

     
 

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The best-selling series of subversive children's books from author Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) come to the screen in this black comedy for the whole family (and how often do you get to see one of those?). The Baudelaire siblings -- gadget freak Violet (Emily Browning), bookworm Klaus (Liam Aiken), and baby Sunny (Kara Hoffman and Shelby Hoffman) -- were living… See more details below

Overview

The best-selling series of subversive children's books from author Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) come to the screen in this black comedy for the whole family (and how often do you get to see one of those?). The Baudelaire siblings -- gadget freak Violet (Emily Browning), bookworm Klaus (Liam Aiken), and baby Sunny (Kara Hoffman and Shelby Hoffman) -- were living a fairy-tale existence with their parents until they died in a fire that destroyed the family home. With few close relatives and a large fortune the children won't inherit until they reach adulthood, the Baudelaire children are left in the care of the peculiar Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), an out-of-work actor who would love nothing more than to get his hands on the kids' money. It doesn't take long for the children to figure out that Count Olaf is up to no good, and they try to steer clear of his various murderous schemes with the help of wildly paranoid Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep) and snake-fancying Uncle Monty (Billy Connolly). Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events also features Catherine O'Hara, Timothy Spall, Cedric the Entertainer, and Luis Guzman; Jude Law narrates in the guise of author Snicket.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
It is Daniel Handler’s nom de plume, Lemony Snicket, above the title, but this mostly fortunate adaptation of three Snicket books (The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, and The Wide Window) leans weightily on Jim Carrey’s cinematic shoulders. Carrey is perfect as the despicable actor Count Olaf, hamming it up in a series of guises that figure in his continuing schemes to deprive the Baudelaire orphans of their parents’ fortune. The film's cautionary prologue ingeniously captures the subversive spirit of Snicket's macabre misadventures; it's a wonderful piece of stop-motion animation, right out of Rankin-Bass, in which "The Littlest Elf" prances about in celebration of springtime. Alas, narrator Snicket (Jude Law) informs us, this is not the cheerful film we are going to see. The Baudelaires' story is much more alarming. Described as "clever and reasonably attractive," Violet (Emily Browning), Klaus (Liam Aiken), and infant Sunny (Kara and Shelby Hoffman) survive every deadly predicament Count Olaf can concoct. The cast also includes a boisterous Billy Connolly and a delightful Meryl Streep as ill-fated guardians who are not so lucky in their encounters with Olaf. Director Brad Silberling avoids the slavish-devotion-to-the-text formula that diminished the first two Harry Potter films, although the decision to subtitle Sunny's gurgles and coos with contemporary slang ("Bite me") smacks of pandering. Parents may appreciate that some of the more "extremely unpleasant" incidents in the books (notably a climactic marriage) have been toned down, but the PG-13 rating is accurate. The Academy Award winner for Carrey’s makeup, the film was also justly nominated for its dazzling production design, and the animated end credits are among the best in recent years, too.
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
When it's the story that makes a book special, it can often be adapted successfully into a film, as one narrative medium morphs smoothly into another. But when a book's most valuable aspect is its prose style, filmmakers should be warned that they will be hard-pressed to recreate the virtues of their source material. That's the problem with Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, a cinematic version of the first three books in an entire cash-cow line by Daniel Handler, aka "Lemony Snicket." The snide lamentations and morose asides of the author's ironic style make the Snicket books a hoot, but these are not visual qualities and not easily translatable. That leaves director Brad Silberling and screenwriter Robert Gordon able to render only the physical features of the books' Gothic settings. The result is a sort of Tim Burton-lite that looks superb but is too scary for tots, but not quite funny enough for their parents. Despite heavy lifting on the part of a terrific cast that includes Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep, Jude Law as narrator, and a breakout performance by Australian actress Emily Browning as Violet, the tone ends up too affected and dark without the ameliorating effects of Handler's omniscient, mordant voice.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/01/2013
UPC:
0883929302383
Original Release:
2004
Source:
Paramount Catalog
Sales rank:
2,043

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jim Carrey Count Olaf
Timothy Spall Mr. Poe
Catherine O'Hara Justice Strauss
Billy Connolly Uncle Monty
Meryl Streep Aunt Josephine
Luis Guzman Bald Man
Jamie Harris Hook-Handed Man
Craig Ferguson Person of Indeterminate,Person of Indeterminate Gender
Jennifer Coolidge White Faced Woman No. 1
Jane Adams White Faced Woman No. 2
Cedric the Entertainer Constable

Technical Credits
Brad Silberling Director
Colleen Atwood Costumes/Costume Designer
Scott Aversano Co-producer
Minor Childers Co-producer
Bill Corso Makeup
Pud Cusack Sound/Sound Designer
Tony Fanning Art Director
Elizabeth Greenberg Casting
William Hawkins Art Director
Albie Hecht Executive Producer
Rick Heinrichs Production Designer
Linda Hill Associate Producer
Michael Kahn Editor
Avy Kaufman Casting
Richard King Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Lantieri Special Effects Supervisor
Emmanuel Lubezki Cinematographer
Laurie MacDonald Producer
Thomas Newman Score Composer
Valli O'Reilly Makeup
Michele Panelli-Venetis Associate Producer,Asst. Director
Walter Parkes Producer
Julia Pistor Executive Producer
Robert Gordon Screenwriter
Scott Rudin Executive Producer
Barry Sonnenfeld Executive Producer
Jim Van Wyck Producer
Martin Whist Art Director
Kevin Yagher Makeup Special Effects
Robert Yeoman Cinematographer

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