‘Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events’ (2004)

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Dave’s 3-Word Review
Mesmerizing and Original

I love Jim Carrey, that’s no question, but every once in a while, I love the movie not only for Carrey, but for the incredible visuals as well. There aren’t many to tell the truth, that have captivated me with its immaculate beauty, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” was one of these films. For an entirely separate reason altogether, the visuals in “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” was also a sight for sore eyes. It wasn’t only the visuals either. No, the story itself is pretty impressive, as is the presentation for the target audience. First off, what is this Nickelodeon film all about?

Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are three remarkable children. Violet (Emily Browning) is an inventor, who after tying her hair up, can make an impossible situation into a possible one. Klaus (Liam Aiken) is an avid reader that can look at the same impossible situation and know just what to do in order to help his sister think of an invention to make it a possible situation. Sunny (Kara/Shelby Hoffman), the baby of the family, just likes to bite things, but she has her place too. When their parents are killed in a seemingly random house fire, the children are sent to their “beloved” Count Olaf (Carrey).

From the get go, you know there is something terrible wrong with Count Olaf. He has no love for the children, and only wishes to inherit their fortune. When he learns he cannot win their fortune unless he waits till Violet turns eighteen, he decides to kill the children to inherit the enormous fortune at a quicker pace. Never did he guess that his plans would be thwarted by the combined intellect of the three Baudelaire children. They are then sent to two other guardians. First up was the animal lover, Uncle Monty (Billy Connolly). After Olaf thwarts what would be a happy ending, the children are sent off to the ultra-paranoid and grammar Nazi, Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep). As luck would have it, Count Olaf was unrelenting. So this film can be seen as a cat and mouse, wild goose chase with a obvious villain with a clear goal. All of this, of course, is narrated by Lemony Snicket himself (Jude Law).

Let’s state the obvious here: this film…is so…beautiful. The imagery used in the movie is stunning, it really is. Not only is everything really cool to look at, but it fit the overall feel of what the movie was shooting for. A grim and grisly tale that can be enjoyed by young adults. We don’t need to get too dark like “The Dark Knight“, because this isn’t an adult’s movie. This is a kids movie, and kids will most certainly get the gist. It is surprising though, how much this film revolves around a motive to kill, slice and dice, and yet it is a Nickelodeon film. It is because the film may have a dark motive, but has such a pleasant way of portraying everything. Had this film been made nowadays, there isn’t a question in my mind that they would have made it 3D, because it has that look.

Every one of the actors did a brilliant job here, and all of the characters were developed extremely well. They are developed so well, in fact, that not a single character in the film isn’t memorable. That is very hard to find in movies nowadays. There may be a few here and there that are memorable, but not an entire cast. The acting, characters, and set designs are all memorable, even the music in the film.

Now, this is a kids movie, so there is a great deal of predictability at play. Obviously, the movie is grim, but there is just no way that the kids are going to get killed, that is plainly obvious. So are we covering our mouths, fearing they will die, not at all. Maybe the kids will, as they haven’t yet grasped the concept of obviousness. The kids will just like it because it looks cool, is just a joy to watch, and of course, Jim Carrey’s ever-changing persona. Adults should listen to the kids and do the same, they could learn a thing or two from the innocence of a child.

Be it as it may, critics love this film, as do I. I think it is original, I think it is beautiful, and I don’t think there is anything like it out there. It is yet another perfect role for Jim Carrey, as he has previously stated that he wouldn’t mind doing a sequel to this film, and he doesn’t like sequels (ever since Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls). It is just a great movie, and don’t be discouraged at the fact that it is a kids movie or made by Nickelodeon, because plainly put….Nickelodeon made “Good Burger“, and that’s awesome.

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