Brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell Cadiz
The movie A Series of Unfortunate Events is based on the New York Times bestselling book series by Lemony Snicket. The first three books, “The Bad Beginning,” “The Reptile Room,” and “The Wide Window,” are summed up in the movie.
The movie centers around three children, Violet (Emily Browning), Klaus (Liam Aiken), and Sonny (played by both Kara and Shelby Hoffman–twin babies). The children are left orphaned when their parents die in a mysterious fire inside their home. Mr. Poe, their parents friend and banker, informs them of the tragedy and tells them of the new home they are to move into which belongs to their long distant uncle Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) who is pure evil! In an attempt to attain the Baudelaire children’s fortune their parents had left them, Count Olaf parks his car onto train tracks and locks the children in the car while he goes inside a mini store. The children are able to rescue themselves through their very special talents and Mr. Poe sends them off to live with another relative.
They move in with their new legal guardian, Dr. Montgomery, a scientist and old friend of their parents, who is in love with reptiles. He is kind and loving, the children love him instantly and feel safe. Dr. Montgomery shows them the “Incredibly Deadly Viper,” a snake he discovered along with his assistant. But just before the children’s arrival, Dr. Montgomery’s assistant had to step back from their trip to Peru because he had fallen ill. A new assistant, Stephano, arrives who really turns out to be Count Olaf in disguise! The children once again must throttle Count Olaf’s plan. But they aren’t in time enough to save their “Uncle Monty” from Count Olaf’s evil plan. Mr. Poe returns and takes them to another new home.
Mr. Poe drops the children off at Damocles Dock for the taxi that will take them to the home of their aunt Josephine Anwhistle. Their Aunt Josephine turns out to be both kind and completely insane! She is afraid of EVERYTHING: the stove, glass doorknobs, paper cuts, even realtors! The children are finally able to convince their aunt to leave her home and they take a trip to the market. Count Olaf returns once again, this time disguised as Captain Sham, a wannabe sailor with an eye patch and peg leg. Neither Mr. Poe or Aunt Josephine believe the children when they try to warn them Captain Sham is really Count Olaf. Once again the children must set out to rescue themselves. Throw in diabolical plans, a boat ride across a leech filled lake, having to rescue Aunt Josephine at Curdled Cave only to have Count Olaf fed her to the leeches in the lake, and a skit of a real life marriage agreement between Olaf and Violet almost taking place and you’re in for one hell of a ride of crazy antics and a twisting plot.
If you have read the books, A Series of Unfortunate Events series you will most likely find some of the storyline has changed in the movie which often happens when books are adapted onto the big screen. Setting that aside, the movie was, in my humble opinion, very very good! Filled with sweet moments between the siblings and humorous moments from Jim Carrey’s portrayal as Count Olaf and Meryl Streep as Aunt Josephine. Many of the movie elements stay true to the book. Visually the movie is beautiful! The sets have a Tim Burton type of feel as do the costumes. The visual effects are subtly, you never feel as if the special effects take over the movie.
The movie is dark which stays true to the tone of the books. Children under the age of six will probably not understand much of the movie and may end up having nightmares. But ten and up will very much have fun watching this movie! Me and my niece both loved it! The story is fast paced but not so much you feel as if you’re head is left spinning. The characters are developed fairly nicely and there is plenty of action and silly adventures to keep you entertained throughout the entire film.
Having a family movie night any time soon? I recommend getting this film! You’ll have loads of fun!
Running Time: 107 minutes
Director: Brad Silberling
Rating: 8/10 stars