Projections - Movie Reviews

Lemony Snicket's
A Series of Unfortunate Events

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
Starring: Jim Carrey, Jude Law, Liam Aiken, Emily Browning

Lemony Snicket (voiced by Jude Law) sits in his clock tower typing the adventures of the three Baudelaire orphans who loose their parents in a terrible fire that destroys their very opulent home and takes the lives of their parents.

The three kids, Klaus (Liam Aiken), Violet (Emily Browning) and Sunny (Kara & Shelby Hoffman) must use their skills to outwit, outsmart and overcome the nasty evil Count Olaf played a little overboard by Jim Carrey. But that over the top performance adds to the appeal of the film for kids. The clumsy Olaf should easily conquer the children but new ways to foil his plans continue to be developed by the three very capable kids. It reminds us of The Witches (1990) a film that has children turned into mice defeating a powerful evil witch, played by Anjelica Huston; like this film it is a giggle for kids to watch.

Klaus has read thousands of books which were housed in the library of the family house before it burned; his sister Violet is a competent tinker, she can very quickly develop new tools and inventions which save the group over and over again. Sunny bites and her energy is almost as powerful as Jack Jack Parr the baby in The Incredibles.

The Snicket books have sold 27 million copies worldwide - this production deals with three of the adventures. Here Aiken and Browning very capably bring the characters to the screen.

The set designs feel like illustrations from a book for children. Count Olaf’s house is a confusing muddle dominated by portraits of Olaf in different theatrical roles ranging from George Washington pointing across the Delaware to Queen Elizabeth I. Eyes fill prominent places suggesting that he is constantly watching the orphans. Billy Connolly’s Uncle Monty has a house that is filled with clutter and reptile themes. Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep) has a home built on stills against a cliff next to a lake, where she studies grammar and proper usage.

Time after time the children must rely on their own intelligence and unique talents to escape the grasp of Olaf, surviving a structure as it crashes into a lake, beating off a sea of large carnivorous leaches and quickly learn how to control the magnifying eye at Count Olaf’s loft.

This is a dark fantasy world which might be scary for some little kids but the ability of the youngsters to force the comeuppance of the nasty Count appears enjoyable to most kids, even when Carrey goes overboard they like it.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

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