Review: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

Continuing with our holiday fare of movie reviews, is the film with the longest title this Christmas: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. We went to see it with our niece and nephews in Colorado just before Christmas (hi to Kelsey, Kyle, and Richard, if you're reading this) and found it to be a mixed bag. The movie is somewhat reminiscent of the original Dune movie, which I have always referred to as "scenes from Dune".

We felt that Unfortunate Events was, in itself, unfortunate, in that it took a well-loved children's book series and turned it into a plodding montage of disconnected-but-loosely-related vignettes that neither flowed together, nor allowed the viewer to get to know the characters.

Our niece, Kelsey, who's read all of the books, was particularly disappointed in that the events were presented with little context and out of order.

For myself, I found it difficult to engage with any of the characters as they were played very coldly and without much interest or danger. With one exception, there was very little suspense in Events, which was unfortunate indeed, as the events didn't feel so much unfortunate as necessary for the plot devices.

I did think there were two characters of some interest in the movie, but they were both dispensed with quickly and without much fanfare. In the end of the day, this series would be better adapted to television or direct-to-video with each book getting a 30 minute or 60 minute treatment that allows for some character development and creates both suspense and a feeling of loss... the main characters are orphans after all.