Lemony Snicket's
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Review by Ross Anthony

Somber, dark, yet dripping in rich visuals, steeped in warped reality. It's a Gaudi or a Dali or a Tim Burton gentle bubbling stream of visuals. Punctuated with sideways humor.

The director shows great patience, great restraint in keeping the film uncluttered with noises, or over the top flashy special effects. Really, the whole picture is painted with quieter special effects, a lonely bleak world where very few people seem to live. Those that do live there are either unhappy or cold hearted -- or one of three innocent children.

Lemony Snicket (voiced by Jude Law) warns over and over that this is not a "happy ending" kind of production and you should leave at once (even if you're on a plane watching it). And I'm sure there will be those parents who'd prefer their children not to be entertained by such somber humor. So, now that you've been forewarned, the gray never quite darkens to pitch black.

In a nut shell, three children are orphaned when their parents are quickly killed in a fire. They're sent from guardian to guardian, followed/haunted by an eccentric, dangerous count who seeks they're inheritance. This is Jim Carrey, he's the noisiest part of the picture, but still tamed when compared to his other similar roles, namely the Mask. Carrey is great fun, a master imposter. My only criticism of him here is that he occasionally smacks of the Mask.

I'm not sure why, but I'd have preferred a casting change for the narrator. And, while Billy Connolly is quite fine as the snake-lover, I couldn't help but long for Steve the Crock Hunter in that role.

The film invests itself in a small chain of orphan guardians. Not the meatiest of backbones. The other plotline almost gets lost behind that chain, and yet it is an interesting one. This combined with the film's gentle pace might make some kids and adults fidgety.

Overall, it's an odd daring production that draws you in. Welcomes you without smiling happy faces, welcomes those of us who know the real world isn't always friendly, or fair. And while warning us at every turn death lurks, still we proceed with a certain bridled hope.

A very strong B+.

This film screened at a Crown Theatre (http://www.crown-theatres.com/)


  • Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Copyright © 2004. Rated PG. 107 minutes
  • Starring Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Jude Law, Emily Browning, Liam Aiken, Kara Hoffman, Shelby Hoffman, Timothy Spall, Billy Connolly, Cedric the Entertainer, Luis Guzman, Jennifer Coolidge.
  • Directed by Brad Silberling.
  • Screenplay by Robert Gordon. Based on the books by Daniel Handler.
  • Produced by Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes at Paramount/Dreamworks/MacDonald-Nickelodeon.

Grade..........................B+

Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:04:50 PDT