Publicity Stills of "Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events" (Courtesy from UIP)

Genre: Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy
Director: Brad Silberling
Starring: Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Emily Browning, Liam Aiken, Kara & Shelby Hoffman, Billy Connolly, Timothy Spall, Catherine O'Hara, Cedric the Entertainer, Jude Law as Lemony Snicket
RunTime: 1 hr 50 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: PG

Release Date: 03 March 2005

Synopsis :

Dear Audience,

I’m sorry to tell you that the movie you are reading about is extremely unpleasant, an expression that here means, “it involves three ingenious orphans, a sinister villain and a hair-raising misadventure.” It is the story of the Baudelaire siblings who, although unusually clever and charming, lead lives filled with misery and woe. In this alarming cinematic event alone, you will encounter a terrible fire, dim lighting, high tragedy, a giant snake, low comedy, man-eating leeches and Jim Carrey.

I am bound to continue my research into the unfortunate events that befall the doomed Baudelaire orphans at the hands of the sinister Count Olaf, but you are free to seek lighter fare, like a documentary about cheese fondue.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Movie Review:

Never mind the fact that you have never read any of the books in the series. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events possess a much simpler plotline among the lots of children’s books (Think Harry Potter or Artemis Fowl). It's a fortunate relief then for those audiences who have trouble following complicated plotting and a barrage of characters.

The story as narrated by Lemony Snicket (played in silhouette form and voice by Jude Law in his melodic English accent) follows the misadventures of the three Baudelaire orphans after their bizarre death of their parents. With Count Olaf (Jim Carrey in another make-up role) eyeing their massive fortunes and resorting to no less murder, the orphans had a hard time staying long enough with a suitable guardian.

The mind-nerving parts are watching how the Baudelaire orphans got themselves out of unusual tight spots. The eldest, Violet who has a gift for coming up with nifty ideas, Klaus who possess photographic memory and the youngest, an infant called Sunny who hilariously bites and mumbles her way through. Meryl Streep turns up in the middle of the movie as the uncanny Aunt Josephine. There should be no qualms about Streep's comic timing (see "Death Becomes Her") but her role in this doesn't require her to do much other than acting weird and talking weird. "Rain Man" Dustin Hoffman appears as an uncredited cameo at the end.

Finally, the man who make us laugh and go crazy with him in "Ace Ventura" and "Me, Myself and Irene", Jim "The Mask" Carrey turns in a bland performance as the unethical Count Olaf. Is it of late that starring in too much serious projects liked "Man on the Moon", "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" causing him to lose much of his past energetic comedic performances? Seriously, Carrey has to brush up those rusty talents of his.

Considering the materials given, visionary and wacky director Tim Burton would have injected a more lively, humourous element if handed the task. It's a pity to see director Brad Silberling ("Casper") struggling to bring the characters to live. However, credit must be given to Silberling for lifting the immerse visual delights from the book to the big screen.

So much so, you might go in awe by the technical achievements of the movie. The visual effects, realistic matt paintings and the zany make-up of Count Olaf by Kevin Yagher ("Sleepy Hollow") are ingenious. The lush set decorations and costume designs are a plus to this exotic world too. However, the severe lack of story layers and interesting plot twists resulted in a monotonous and sluggish pacing.

Apparently, Jim Carrey’s rubber face has past his life shelf. What’s truly comedic and enlivening is in fact cute, little Sunny whom the audience will find more bone tickling and entertaining. Not to mention the artwork style end credits which are more captivating than the movie.

Movie Rating: B

Review by Linus.T.

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