Script: Robert Gordon
Cast: Billy Connolly, Emily Browning, Jim Carey, Jude Law, Kenneth Nkosi, Liam Aiken, Meryl Streep, Mothusi Magano, Presley Chweneyagae, Terry Pheto, Thembi Nyandeni, Zenzo Ngqobe
Rated : 7 Stars
I’ll admit first off that I haven’t read the books … yet. I did give the first three to my little sister for Christmas though, so I may get around to them at some stage. Then again the TBR pile does seem to be growing – but enough of that, back to the film.
The film starts out by warning us that this is no happy tale (if you want that you’ll have to lay your hands on “The Happiest Little Elf”). Lemony Snicket (Jude Law), the author, introduces the viewers to the Baudelaire children. For the briefest of instances they are relatively happy; Violet inventing, Klaus reading and Sonny.. well biting.
But you’d better have heeded the warning, for within instants death strikes. The Baudelaire children become the Baudelaire orphans and are whisked off by the bank manager to their beloved, handsome Count Olaf.
The film is made up of the first three books in the series, and some have compared it to the Harry Potter films. Apart from the fact that they both originated from books and star children (orphans even) they is very little in common. The Harry Potter films may take you into a fantasy world, but the Unfortunate events films create a world of their own, with fantastic buildings, communities, characters and a fantastic atmosphere.
Death is ever present; I’ll not say who because that would ruin the film, but Im guessing that you’ll be able to tell.
So too is danger. Count Olaf is determined to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune, and nothing will stop him, threatening babies, forced marraiges and death are his means, sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he doesn’t.
I’ll say right now that I am not a huge fan of Jim Carey. I quite liked him in Cable Guy, Man On The Moon, and The Truman Show but his over the top comedies have never struck me as all that funny. In this, however, he is fantastic. Count Olaf could so easily be too outragous. He is after all the world’s worst actor, convinced he is the best. But Carey plays just the right note in his portrayal.
The kids too are great, no-one will be able to resist Sonny, but the older two are more than able to act.
A lot of the supporting cast features well known actors, and all are great.
Despite all those good points, it isn’t a perfect film. There is a slightly repetitive aspect to it, no doubt because it is three books converted into one. Not so repetitive as to make one know what is to come, but enough to give a hint. Still, all in all it is well worth a watch.
You gotta love a film that subtitles the baby.