21/02/2011

Forgotten Gem: Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events (2004)

"The movie you are about to see is extremely unpleasant. If you wish to see a film about a happy little elf, I'm sure there is still plenty of seating in theatre number two. However, if you like stories about clever and reasonably attractive orphans, suspicious fires, carnivorous leeches, Italian food and secret organizations, then stay, as I retrace each and every one of the Baudelaire children's woeful steps. My name is Lemony Snicket, and it is my sad duty to document this tale."


Everyone knows the best children's stories involve death, deception and the blackest of black humour and if you agree, Lemony Snicket's ASOUE should be right up your street. Adapted from the first three novels in Daniel Handler's critically acclaimed series, it tells the story of the rather awful/amazing Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) and his attempts to steal the cash left to the three orphaned Baudelaire children. Not only is the story rich and witty and filled to the rafters with cameos (Dustin Hoffman and Catherine O'Hara) and excellent co-stars (Billy Connolly, Meryl Streep, Timothy Spall) but every aspect of the film is, as they say, a visual feast.

Wizards of slap, Valli O'Reilly and Bill Corso nabbed an Oscar for their work while costuming queen Colleen Atwood and Thomas Newman got some recognition but no gold statue. A disgrace. Still, the tone and style of the book's illustration is brilliantly brought to life without relying too heavily on CGI.

Fans of the novels noted that Olaf wasn't as outlandish as Carrey's portrayal but Carrey doesn't do subtle, does he? And thank goodness for that, as even the biggest Carrey-hater would find it hard to not enjoy him going all out in the several roles he occupies. The film did well but doesn't get a mention among other kid's classic and that my friends, is wrong. So very, very wrong.