Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Reviews
A Series of Unfortunate Events suffers from one of the most grievous maladies that can strike a children's film, notably a regrettable tendency to fill in all the quiet with noise.
Though the movie is a literate adventure story, the series' dark tone is lightened up in the film just enough to make one yearn for the darkly twisted witticisms and pervasive anxiety that made Handler's books uniquely appealing.
The visuals are dark and ominous without getting totally terrifying -- the characters feel real, but their environment is off-kilter enough to remind you that this world is one of imagination.
Against all odds it delights, using a compact script (by Robert Gordon), creative storytelling and the ripe comedic talents of a prodigious cast to transform written word into a near-perfect cinematic entity.
The imaginatively cast, gorgeously designed movie has moments of wry wit and oddball charm. But its lumpish plot reinforces the suspicion that solid storytelling is no longer a Hollywood priority.
No praise is too high for cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who leeches the color out of Rick Heinrichs' spectacular sets so that the film looks like a lost masterpiece of German expressionism or a cherished nightmare of Tim Burton.
As with the first two Harry Potter entries, A Series of Unfortunate Events ultimately feels like the triumph of literal-mindedness over lyricism. It also has a hollow emotional core.