Saturday, 9 May 2015

Film Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Part 1

I originally planned to watch A Series of Unfortunate Events back when I read the first three A Series of Unfortunate Events books because I knew that those were the books it was based on. Then I decided that I wanted to write a blog review of it and so held off and held off, and completely forgot about it when I finally did finish the book series. At least it’s not been that long since we finished the books, so what better time to do a three-part review of the film.

A Series of Unfortunate Events is based on the first three books (The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room and The Wide Window) more or less. The action chops around between the books with the beginning and end of The Bad Beginning forming the beginning and end of the film, with the most pertinent moments from the other two books slotted in between.

Of course, it’s still telling the same story. The Baudelaire children become the Baudelaire orphans when their parents are killed in a terrible fire. Mr Poe, the executor of the Baudelaires’ will, takes the children off to live with Count Olaf, who promptly tries to murder them in order to get his hands on their fortune. From this point onwards things only get worse.

1. I love how in keeping with this series the menu selection of the film is. Each option has dire warnings against selecting it.

2. And we’re straight into the action with chirping birds and happy music. There are stop motion birds and other forest dwelling creatures. We’re watching a film called The Littlest Elf.

3. There seems to be some sort of mistake here and Jude Law, playing Lemony Snicket, tells us that this is not the film we will be watching today. This is not a film filled with happy music and birdsong.

4. Ooh, there’s a bit of eye imagery on the fence there. That’s got to be intentional, right?

5. As we know from the books. Violet ties up her hair with a ribbon when she’s about to invent something. We get a brief montage of her demonstrating this.

6. Klaus meanwhile is a reader and researcher. I want the Baudelaire library.

7. And then there’s Sunny. I love the shot of her hanging off the table by her teeth.

8. Mr Poe is bringing news of an unfortunate event. He does not sugar coat this news.

9. And then he lets the children go to the still smoking ruins of their mansion home. Which has some curious mysteries in it; like a burning hot spyglass Mr Baudelaire had hidden in the study.

10. There’s a bit of obvious CGI in this film.

11. Hehe, ‘this is an excellent opportunity to walk out of the theatre, house or aeroplane where this film is being shown.’ Wouldn’t like to try that!

12. I love Sunny in the film as much as in the book, telling Mr Poe that it ‘sounds like someone’s head’s been removed’.

13. Look at Justice Strauss and her beautiful house. That’s not where you will be living.

14. Olaf’s house is not beautiful. It looks like something out of a horror movie. Sunny’s got the right idea about sleeping outside!

15. And here we’ve got some eyes. Gonna see a lot of those in this film.

16. Jim Carrey is the perfect person to play Count Olaf. He’s such a big ham and it just works so well.

17. Hehe, Violet, Klaus and Whatever!

18. ‘I will raise these orphans as though they were actually wanted.’ And Mr Poe doesn’t find this behaviour in any way strange?! Mr Poe’s an idiot.

20. We get a brief tour of the Olaf residence. It’s a bit of a dive.

21. He gets all Beauty and the Beast on the children when they ask what’s up the tower. They are never to go up there!

22. I’d love to see what else is on Olaf’s list of chores.

23. Aww, rat! I don’t think it’s really hygienic to keep rats in your kitchen cupboards though.

24. Eww. And I definitely don’t want to eat anything from a kitchen where there are bugs in the cupboard.

25. I love how they show off the make up so Carrey looks just like the illustrations in the books.

26. Who needs a tin opener when you’ve got a baby with razor sharp teeth?

27. Mmm, spittoon pasta.

28. Violet’s hair is really cool with all those random plaits. If I was fourteen right now, I would totally wear my hair like that!

29. Eww, look at Olaf’s nails! Dude needs a manicure.

30. Physical violence against children. Nice move, Olaf.

31. I’ve just realised that Klaus isn’t wearing glasses. Isn’t that one of his main defining character traits in the books?

33. Time for a moan about their parents’ lack of forethought in their choice of guardian. Unfortunately being dead is not like being in Europe and they’re never going to see their parents again.

34. Luckily Violet’s going to invent something to make them feel safe. Instant sanctuary. If only the Olaf issue could be fixed that easily.

35. And just like that Olaf is the children’s guardian. In this universe there is clearly no such thing as social workers.

36. I like that Olaf stops at the ‘Last Chance’ store, like the children visit in the book.

37. And also as in the book, the children find a book called Inheritance Law and You. Except this time there’s a list of train times in it.

38. Oh, and the car is parked on the train tracks, and there’s a train heading for them.

39. At least The Littlest Elf looks happy about it.

40. Film! Poe is just as useless as Book!Poe.

41. I love the way that the books Klaus needs to remember just pop out of the bookcase. It’s a neat way of showing how he remembers things.

42. It’s very convenient that Olaf parked them on a road so close to the track switch.

43. Mr Poe doesn’t complain about the children being allowed to live in Olaf’s filthy house, but letting Sunny sit in the driver’s seat is unforgiveable!

And that’s where we’ll stop this for now. Next week we’ll pick up the story as the children go to stay with Uncle Monty, Olaf follows them there and somebody doesn’t make it out alive.

I’ll give you a clue. It’s not Olaf!


  1. I have never heard of this film, I am not a reader of books and never go to the cinema but do like to watch the odd DVD from time to time. I thought this sounds interesting so I have ordered the film from Amazon, it will be interesting to see what it is like. I have never bought a film based on a blog post before. . . . . .

    1. I'm glad I've intrigued you. It's a good, fun family film (though I do prefer the books).

      You'll have to let me know what you think of it.


Let me know what you think. :-)