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Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

tomatometer

72

Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 159
Fresh: 114 | Rotten: 45

Although it softens the nasty edges of its source material, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a gothic visual treat, and it features a hilariously manic turn from Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf.

59

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 15

Although it softens the nasty edges of its source material, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a gothic visual treat, and it features a hilariously manic turn from Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf.

audience

63

liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 482,688

My Rating

Movie Info

The best-selling series of subversive children's books from author Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) come to the screen in this black comedy for the whole family (and how often do you get to see one of those?). The Baudelaire siblings -- gadget freak Violet (Emily Browning), bookworm Klaus (Liam Aiken), and baby Sunny (Kara Hoffman and Shelby Hoffman) -- were living a fairy-tale existence with their parents until they died in a fire that destroyed the family home. With few close relatives and

PG,

Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Comedy

Robert Gordon

Apr 26, 2005

$118.5M

Paramount Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (161) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (114) | Rotten (45) | DVD (42)

Episodic but entertaining.

November 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's all a bit superficial, but highly entertaining, wickedly funny, and alluring enough to make you want to start reading the books.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (2)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Heinrichs helps take your mind off the slack direction and the letdown of a climax, which ought to make the kiddies hurl Gummi Bears at the screen.

December 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Slate
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A lavishly mounted blockbuster that has little personality of its own except on a purely visual level.

December 20, 2004
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It just kind of spins its wheels.

December 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper | Comment (1)
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A work of wonderfully sinister fantasy.

December 17, 2004 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Book's fans will enjoy, but too creepy for some.

December 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Whilst the direction and script seem off, the rest of the production work is excellent.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Dark Horizons
Dark Horizons

Between Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Lemony Snicket 2004 is a banner year for dark and fun kid's films.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: CHUD

A dastardly unadulterated delight of a film.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Hollywood.com
Hollywood.com

full review in Greek

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

We can be grateful that the series has given Carrey one of his better vehicles in recent years, and that Carrey has risen to the occasion so well.

September 27, 2006
Christianity Today

If you sit back, relax and just accept it for what it is -- an enjoyable, escapist Gothic pantomime -- you will go home happy.

April 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

...Carrey delivers a broad performance that's more distracting than anything else.

December 31, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Successful in kicking off a largely amusing and visually engaging franchise.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A sick joke of a film that realizes the best children's entertainment doesn't hide from the bleaker side of life, but plunges into the void and respects kids enough to assume they can handle it.

September 26, 2005 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

...recognizes that it's okay to present scariness, gloominess and sadness, as long as you present strong, pure hearted children whose inherent cleverness cuts through it all.

July 25, 2005 Full Review Source: www.kcactive.com

After all, it's not like the filmmakers got everything wrong. They just didn't get the right things right.

July 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Bullz-Eye.com
Bullz-Eye.com

Not many children's movies center on recently orphaned children delivered to the home of a homicidal thespian. Then again, not many children's movies are as good as this one.

June 2, 2005

Charming and sly right at the beginning.

May 10, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A phantasmagoric family film with both bite and heart.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

'Inteligente, divertida y arriesgada en su propuesta visual y temática, es una aventura que no se pueden perder'

April 4, 2005

The main blight on the festivities is that, as always, Hollywood can't resist adding a little uplift.

March 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

Lemony Snicket serves anti-authoritarianism with youthful spirit.

March 1, 2005 Full Review

Audience Reviews for Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

Nowhere near the brilliance of Lemony Snicket's series, the film is a disappointment as far as adaptations go. It is aesthetically pleasing, however, with wonderful visuals. While there is some humor, most of the film is quite lifeless with wooden acting. If only the makers had spent as much time on the script as they did on the aesthetics, the film may feel a little less empty than it does. Ultimately, the film is pretty to look at, but nothing more. Its main failure not only comes from awkward pacing and a bland script, but an attempt to mix in secrets revealed in the last books of the series with the first three installations. Frankly, it doesn't work.
August 4, 2013
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

I was once addicted to the books that this film was based on. Due to me being bored, I decided to take down off of my bookshelves the entire saga of the Baudelaire children and read each book nonstop until the end of all 171 chapters. Wanting more, I decided to rewatch the film. At first, I was puzzled with what I saw. I know that novels will be different when they are presented on film, but I was puzzled at the drastic change of the content. The original series was a modern masterpiece of dark comedy and psychological humor while the film was mainly slapstick with some dark humor and impressive set pieces.
After coming to terms with that, I rewatched the film to base it on it's own terms. What I got was an okay film that proves how versatile Jim Carry can be in terms of playing different characters. That is what might be the greatest problem with this film: it is built too much on being artistic and show casing Carry's talent as an actor. The rest of the cast is... okay. Nothing that really stood out to me and for a film that has Timothy Spall, Jude Law, and Meryl Streep, this is a shock due to how bland they acted. I know in the books their characters only served as disposable characters just to move the story along, but here they just seem to be their for no reason. You could literally remove those characters and the film would still be the same. I find this disappointing because all three actors play characters that are amusing, interesting, and worth watching. But with them removing almost all likability that they had in the text, they are just left hallow characters that serve no purpose. Honestly, this broke my heart a bit because I wish that they would have gave these characters life.
But, seeing as how this film is built on the triple performance of Jim Carry, I might as well talk about that for a bit. He is good in this version of Olaf, and that is to say the film adaption. He portrays this dark character as a comedic joke, making each reincarnation more humorous and insane than the previous. Watching him does make one smile due to the silly and outrageous presentation. His performance is not as good nor as memorable as others, but the look he givers Olaf is.
For the children, they are okay. Emily Browning portrays a more mature version of Violet which, for me, I liked. In the books that the film is adapted from, Violet comes off as weak and a little whinny. Here she is more mature, independent, and clear thinking. Liam Aiken does okay as Klaus, giving us a more whinny version and one that is not as good as you can hope. Personally, I wish that they picked a different actor other than Liam Aiken. But, that is just me. Seeing as how Sunny is just a baby in the film, it would be unfair for me to critique that performance.
The set design and look of this film is wonderful. That is the one thing they did get right: the complete gothic feel of the story. Reading the novels, there is just a wave of Tim Burton-esque influence with the tone and look of the settings. If I could applaud this film for anything, it would be the art direction.
In a nutshell, I did not care for this film at all. Yeah, it is a nice little family film that is good for passing the time, but if you are looking for a good adaption, you will be screwed to find that this is no such case. But, you know, it is a pity: this film could have been great.
March 27, 2012
Zach Brehany

Super Reviewer

"Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events" is a movie based off of the book series of the same name. What can I say about this movie, it's great, for children or fully grown adults. It actually does follow the source material quite well, and is told from an interesting first person perspective by one of the orphans that insinuates he is writing the series of books as he narrates this movie. It's a very interesting concept, but anyway, onto the movie. The movie, as do the books, follow the story of three orphans trying to find a new home after their old one was burned down and their parents killed in the fire. Soon enough, they meet Count Olaf, their horrible relative who, throughout the movie, constantly keeps trying to kill them so he can inherent their family fortune as their legal guardian. The first thing you will notice, just by watching the trailers, is that Jim Carrey plays Count Olaf, as well as his many disguised personas, and he does the role beautifully. He's truly a very interesting and unique villain in any movie, one minute you'll love to laugh at him, and the next you'll love to hate his guts. He plays the part well and, as Jim Carrey always is, is hilarious. This movie is full of memorable characters such as Count Olaf, the movie has an outlandish theme, yet feels real at the same time. Truly a well constructed, and fun to watch movie.
November 13, 2011
MrNeoshredder
Frank Petrovich

Super Reviewer

Jim Carrey is my favorite actor and this feels a lot to me like something Tim Burton would do. Jim Carrey reminds me of Michael Keaton in Burton's Beetlejuice. A funny man playing a creepy man. A little to much CGI was used in the film but behind its far too dark overtones it has a real message that could be learned from at heart.
November 4, 2011
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

    1. Mr. Poe: Children, I'm afraid that I must inform you of a very unfortunate event.
    – Submitted by Harry W (56 days ago)
    1. Llamando Conde Olaf: Damnit. This was such a good character.
    – Submitted by Harry W (56 days ago)
    1. Lemony Snicket: The film that you are about to see it is extremely unpleasant.
    – Submitted by Harry W (56 days ago)
    1. Uncle Monty: Glad you made it so fast, too bad my other assistant gustas, can't.
    2. Llamando Conde Olaf: [disguised] He'll do anything to be here wait now [shows gustas tied on a train]
    – Submitted by Connor N (15 months ago)
    1. Llamando Conde Olaf: Must say your a glumly looking bunch, why so glum?
    2. Klaus Baudelaire: Our parents, just, died.
    – Submitted by Connor N (15 months ago)
    1. Llamando Conde Olaf: This is we're your sleep, time for bed.
    2. Violet Baudelaire: But the suns still up!
    3. Llamando Conde Olaf: [mockingly] But the suns still up.
    – Submitted by Connor N (15 months ago)
View all quotes (20)

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Foreign Titles

  • Les désastreuses aventures des orphelins Baudelaire (FR)
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