As I’m currently making my way through all the books in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, you can prepare for some more exciting posts on the subject! Today I want to shed some light on the 2004 movie adaptation, which covers the first three novels!
A Series of Unfortunate Events follows Violet, Klaus and Sunny Beaudelair. After a fire destroyed their home and killed their parents, they struggle with their new guardians. The first new care-taker they get is Count Olaf who is only after their money. However, each time the Beaudelair children seem to get rid of him, some new peril awaits them…
Book vs. Movie:
So, in this case it’s not only one novel I will talk about but three. The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room and The Wide Window are the first three installments in Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate events. Putting the entire series (13 books) into one film is quite impossible, so it was definitely a good idea to change it up a bit.
First of all, I simply adore the novels. I was surprised to find out that Lemony Snicket is actually an invention by Daniel Handler who constructed an entire biography about this fake author. But that’s just one of the wonderful little details. The drawings by Brett Helquist are so delicate and radiate a certain gloominess that goes perfectly with the vibe of the story. I was impressed how well Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler mixed the dark and sad plot with some funny moments. Moreover, the pages of the book have rather raw edges, so it looks as if they were torn out and hastily put together. That’s just another detail that ties in with the overall story not only of the Beaudelair children but also of Lemony Snicket.
The plot itself is intricately woven. So many amazing ideas and plot-twist await! But what I like most of all is that for once children are taken seriously (at least by the writer) The Beaudelairs are extremely smart kids still everybody around them treats them like stupid children. Everybody knows that feeling and it’s great that for once the children get credit too.
However, for the movie the plot was changed a bit in order to give one round story with an ending. I had seen the film long before I ever laid eyes on the books and have to admit, the story works out just fine like that. Never had I noticed that the movie plot is not the way it’s supposed to be like. My first praise goes out to the wonderful cast. Many big names joined this production and made the characters come to life. All of them did a wonderful job, especially Jim Carrey who captured Count Olaf really well.
Although the darkest moments and underlying tones seem a bit softer in this adaptation, its wonderful gothic flair makes up for that. It radiated Tim Burton vibes all the way through! I was actually surprised that he himself had nothing to do with this film. However, his long time production designer was responsible for the set, so that’s where it came from!
A Series of Unfortunate Events is a lovely adaptation that has to fit into shoes a size too big. Although the books are simply a tiny bit better in every way, this movie is extremely well made. I re-watched it several times!
Did you watch the movie? Read the book? Let me know in the comments what you think!