I’ll come clean: I’d never heard of Lemony Snicket before today, but then thankfully, it appears I’m not the only one. Nevertheless, there’s a generation of kids who clearly know all the details of this fictitious(?) author’s dark and disturbing Gothic tales. And, rather handily, I had two with me at the screening. According to the experts, the film isn’t as good as the first two books it’s based upon – ‘too many bits are missing’ – and neither thought much of Jim Carrey’s ‘Rocky Horror’-esque portrayal of the book’s evil uncle: ‘he’s just not scary enough and too funny’. I thought so too, although he surely knows how to strike a funky Gothic pose. Still, there are no misgivings about the look of the film: its grubby mix of ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’-style locations filled with dark mansions, rats, snakes, and lots of backlit silhouettes presents a desirably foreboding atmosphere. The three kid stars, too, are perfectly cast as the books’ trio of astute orphans who are left in the care of their scheming uncle Olaf (Carrey), following the horrific death of their parents. The film basically documents the ‘series of unfortunate events’ that befall these plucky siblings while they go about solving the mystery of their parent’s demise. Even Meryl Streep, Billy Connolly and Dustin Hoffman chip in with a scene or two, while Law narrates throughout. It’s all a bit superficial, but highly entertaining, wickedly funny, and alluring enough to make you want to start reading the books.
Friday December 17 2004
Cast and crew
Jim Carrey Meryl Streep Emily Browning Liam Aiken Kara Hoffman Shelby Hoffman Timothy Spall Billy Connolly Catherine O' Hara Cedric the Entertainer Luis Guzman Jennifer Coolidge