Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

Let me say right up front that the alleged name "Lemony Snicket" makes my stomach turn, my skin crawl, and sets off my BS alarm big-time. It kept this film way down towards the bottom of my queue until someone on LJ said I really ought to get over it.

I'm not over it, but I did watch the movie.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is about three rich kids with impressive talents whose parents die when their house burns down. The kids are at the beach, throwing rocks at the ducks when the sad event occurs. Their parents' banker gives them the news, and packs them off to their new guardian, Count Olaf. When that doesn't work out, he packs them off to Dr. Monty and then Aunt Josephine. Count Olaf is never far behind, trying to kill the kids and grab the family fortune.

The cast is remarkable. Jim Carrey as Olaf is completely unrecognizable in three different incarnations - Count Olaf is an actor and master of disguise. Acting and makeup combine to make him three different people. I kept looking at Aunt Josephine, thinking she looked familiar, but I couldn't quite identify her until the credits revealed she was played by Meryl Streep. I would not have guessed. The narrator's voice is Jude Law, also not easy to recognize. The banker is played by Timothy Spall, who also played Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter series. Again, he's well disguised. The actor closest to being recognized is Billy Connolly, who plays Dr. Monty Montgomery, the second of the childrens' guardians. But even he was not obvious.

I would give this movie a makeup Oscar, and a costume nomination. In a better script, Carrey would be looking at a Best Actor nomination.

Aye, there's the rub. The script is average. Better than I would have expected from a garbage name like Lemony, but still average. There are some super special effects and sets, and the acting is great all around, but there's only so much one can do with an average piece of writing.

I won't bother to name the three children. The two eldest were not well-cast, the youngest could have been any toddler so it doesn't matter. The oldest, Violet, is supposed to be a great inventor, and when she ties up her hair with a ribbon we know she is putting her thinking cap on. The narration made this plain, but the actress did not. The middle child, Klaus (this is a name for a French boy? jeez.) is supposed to be a voracious reader with an eidetic memory. Again, we hear this from the narrator, but the actor doesn't convince.

Bottom line, I thought this movie was not deserving of the enormous pool of talent involved.

One "six degrees of separation" note: Spall and Connolly were both in The Last Samurai.

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