DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Monday, December 20, 2004

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events Film Review


Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (PG)

Reviewed by Matt ‘Lemony’ Adcock

I’m sorry to tell you that this film is extremely unpleasant, an expression that here means, “it involves three ingenious orphans, a sinister homicidal villain and a hair-raising gothic misadventure.”
Alarmingly, it is also pure entertainment dynamite – darker and cooler than Harry Potter will ever be - this ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ really lives up to its morose title. Things do indeed get grim, there’s no happy ending, actually there’s no happy beginning and I have to say that very few happy things happen in between but that is the very point. You know, it’s not too late to stop reading and consider going to see something altogether more light hearted…
Based on the subtly subversive books of Lemony Snicket, director Brad Silberling and a distressingly talented cast that includes Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep and the gorgeous Emily Browning have brought something truly unique to the screen. ‘Unfortunate Events’ capitalises on that well-trodden path from the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm through to the twisted works of Roald Dahl – of dastardly awful things happening to perfectly nice children through no fault of their own. The result is a dreadful spectacle, a phrase that here means, “it jump starts the imagination of the entire family and evokes the magic of truly classic entertainment.”
The woeful tale is of the Baudelaire orphans, Violet (Browning) a whiz inventor, Klaus (Liam Aiken) a brainy bookworm and Sunny (played by tag team of twins Kara and Shelby Hoffman) a two year old who really likes to bite things. Undisputed star of the film however is the villainous Count Olaf (Carrey), he sizzles with ultra manic energy, he really is despicable, a word which here means, “really, really, unbelievably evil.” The wicked Count pursues the orphans throughout the film, appearing in a number of guises – all the while trying to get his hands on the children’s huge estate.
The Lemony Snicket books knocked Harry Potter from top of the children’s bestseller list when they came out and on the strength of this lavish adaptation, Potter has good cause to be looking over his shoulder.
As Snicket says “at times the world may seem like an unfriendly and sinister place, but what may seem like a series of unfortunate events might, in fact, be the first steps of a journey...” Let’s just hope that this wonderful journey continues with a sequel!

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