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  1. #1
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Jul 2002

    A DVD review Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

    There are some movies you watch that you really like, and some that are so bad you just hate to watch them(Flight of the Phoenix comes to mind). I really liked this movie but with some strong reservations that I will outline in my review. A Series of Unfortunate Events in a two-disc edition that's so dense, only the hardest-core fan could possibly forage through all its featurettes and galleries and commentaries and Easter eggs

    Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) ends up being one of those heartbreaking movies that barely creaks to life, despite everyone's obvious best efforts. It looks great, but director Brad Silberling never quite figures out a single approach — deadpan or wacky — that honors Daniel Handler's popular series of hilariously macabre children's novellas. Each book, which Handler pseudonymously credits to "Lemony Snicket," follows the travails of the three "reasonably attractive orphans" of the Baudelaire family — inventor Violet (played in the film by Emily Browning), bookworm Klaus (Liam Aiken) and baby Sunny — as they're pursued by Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), a distant cousin and failed actor who tries to kill the children for their inheritance. The movie adapts the first three books in the series — The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, and The Wide Window — and therein lies another problem: Adapting three mini-adventures instead of one gives the film a deeply unsatisfying episodic structure; it feels like we are starting and ending three different movies. Just as you feel you have come to and end, another episode begins. And Carrey gives a busy, unfocused performance as Olaf — his clowning piles on contemporary references and too much "Ace Ventura" schtick, and the movie loses the sense of character and timelessness that could have made it truly great. I found his character rather tiring prefering that he play it a little more consistantly. As one unfortune event after another passes, the kids are passed from one relative to the next. Billy Connolly does a excellent job as a snake obsessed uncle, and Meryl Streep does a simularly excellent job as a phobic aunt.


    This DVD was by far one of the cleanest, and best looking DVD I have seen so far. There were no signs of print dirt, no jaggies, no micro blocking, no adge enhancement that I could see. Colors are well resolved and blacks deep giving the picture a punchy but not over the top. Shadow detail was excellent, very little noise in dark scenes. I would call this disc reference material.


    The sound on this movie is not your average bombastic slash and burn soundtrack. It services this movie perfectly, not adding to, or taking away from the story. It does however provide some exciting moments such as the storm scene when the children are at their aunts house. The LFE is used to support some of the more powerful scenes, the score is well recorded with good lateral spread and noticeable depth extending to the surrounds. The surrounds are well used but not overpowering.

    This movie IMO is a keeper. In spite of the inconsistancies in performance mainly with Jim Carrey's part, and the difficulty in incorporating three stories into one this movie was fun to watch. I however wished the direction of the movie would have remained solemn rather than trying to incorporate a happy ending to everything.
    Sir Terrence

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  2. #2
    Kam is offline
    filet - o - fish Kam's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    New York, NY
    "soda... soda... banana"
    "i'm sorry i don't speak monkey!"

    i thoroughly enjoyed all the monkey references. but the rest of your review is right on. felt like the movie was just waiting to kick it in to the next gear, but never did. although the ending was extremely creepy with the whole marriage thing going on. am glad i didnt have any kids around that i knew, cuz that was odd.

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