Lemony Snicketís A Series of
Unfortunate Events (6/10)
by Tony Medley
As I was reading the
Production Notes I was preparing a terribly amusing and effective
review, written in the style of Mr. Snicket (real name Daniel Handler).
I was laughing as I was reading my copy in my mindís eye. Brilliant!
Alas, Mr. Snicket did not
write the script for this film. Instead it was written by Robert Gordon,
who wrote Men in Black II, one of 2002ís worst films. To make
matters worse, he has a producer credit on Sky Captain and the World
of Tomorrow, another stinker earlier this year.
ĎTis pity, too, because Jim
Carrey is delightful as the evil Captain Olaf. Even Meryl Streep (Aunt
Josephine), who has been a long time resident on my list of least
favorite actresses, isnít that bad. In fact, the entire cast is very
good, especially the three Beaudelaire children, Klaus (Liam Aiken),
Violet (Emily Browning), and the infant Sunny (played by both Kara and
Shelby Hoffman). Timothy Spall (Poe) is a dead ringer for mid-20th
Century stuffy character actor Robert Morley, and just as prickly. Jude
Law is here, too, as the voice of Lemony Snicket. Was there a movie made
in 2004 in which Law did not play a role? Surely heís been in every film
Iíve seen for the past several months. Or am I just in the middle of a
terrible nightmare? I had had enough of him before he started showing up
in every film I saw, but Law does a very good job narrating the film.
In a nutshell the Baudelaire
childrenís parents are burned up in a fire that destroys their house and
they are placed with Olaf as their guardian, who wants their money. The
children are wonderfully wise and all the adults are either bad or
stupid. Olaf keeps showing up in disguises that the children see through
but that fool Poe, who is the government official responsible for
placing the children.
Itís a dark tale and maybe
children will like it. I was disappointed.
However, it raises a
disturbing question in my mind, to wit: why are todayís childrenís films
full of bad adults? There is only one adult in this film with a
redeeming quality, Uncle Monty (Bill Connolly), and heís quickly
dispatched. But heís a weirdo, too. What is the message that is
delivered to young, impressionable children seeing these films? That
there is no adult to be trusted? Movies are more than entertainment,
especially childrenís movies. I object to movies that can result in
impressionable children coming out with the wrong impression. Where are
the childrenís movies with positive morals and values?
Worse, I never did get the
answer to the question the children kept asking about their parentsí
death in the fire that burned down their house. So, for me, this was a
mystery without a resolution. I obviously need a child to explain it to
December 16, 2004