It's somewhat difficult to review this film. Any adaptation of a book sets certain expectations for those who are seeing the movie - and the most common expectation is that the movie is going to parallel, as accurately as it can, the books.
Does this do that? Yes and no.
The central plot elements of the books are there: the greedy Count Olaf who wants to steal their fortune; the bumbling Mr. Poe who can't seem to understand anything; Uncle Monty, who makes them feel at home for the first time since losing their parents; and their Aunt Josephine, who is afraid of so many things - radiators, ovens, falling refrigerators, and, of course, realtors.
However, the movie moves rather quickly to the second book, skirting swiftly around the first book and inserting a segue that didn't happen in any book to cause the movement. I was puzzled by this. There were other liberties taken, but as I ruminate over them, they seem rather insignificant. The resolution of Uncle Monty's "scene" was nearly identical to the one in the book, as was the resolution to the "scene" featuring Aunt Josephine. As I said, the central plot elements remained the same.
In an interesting and altogether understandable move (as it was the most intriguing filmable climax), the ending of the first book was made the ending of the movie.
All of the sets were well created: Olaf's, Monty's, Josephine's home - and even the ruined Baudelaire mansion. They were believable and well done.
Some of the actors seemed out of place, particularly the ones playing Mr. Poe and Klaus. I don't understand why they were so far removed from their physical descriptions in the book. Surely finding someone taller to play Mr. Poe couldn't have been that difficult (he wasn't, by the way, coughing and sniffing constantly), and at the very least they could have put glasses on Klaus.
Jim Carrey was somewhat over-the-top as Count Olaf and Captain Sham, but he was understated and perfect as Stefano. Count Olaf is, as any readers of the book know (and I've read and reviewed all of them) a rather over-the-top character, so I found his portrayal of Olaf to be spot-on and didn't have a problem with it as some "real" reviewers have.
The person I saw the film with had never read the books, and when we were leaving, I asked his opinion. He said that he loved it, and in fact enjoyed it more than the Harry Potter movies. Personally, I disagree - and this is my review. <grin>
The movie also gave away a few secrets, and I think that may have been because the filmmakers aren't certain whether or not they are going to make any more films. I'm not aware of any filming underway for a second set of "Unfortunate Events", so the kids portraying Violet, Klaus and Sunny will, and likely have, already outgrown their characters. Perhaps the filmmakers gave these secrets away believing that the story they were telling needed more resolution than it had. In any event, if they do make more films, it will be interesting to see how they handle the divulging of these secrets.
If I had never read the books, I think I would have "loved" the movie too. However, I've read all of them, and while the filmmakers did a very good job recreating the spirit of Snickett's work, they didn't do an excellent one. Hence the four star review. (Four stars means very good - five stars means excellent, or superlative. At least in my book.)
on December 9, 2004
I have recently seen this movie, and I have to say that it exceeded my expectations. It was filled with jokes and laughs, but don't worry, the jokes don't steer away from the story. I was quite doubtful on the fact that Jim Carrey would be playing the part as Count Olaf. Jim Carrey is usually in Comedic Films and I thought that he would not fit this character, because in the books, the count isn't supposed to be funny, but cruel and greedy. But, it turned out fine. In fact, I felt Jim Carrey was a big plus to the movie, and the rest of the cast was picked perfectly. I highly recommend this movie to the fans of the series!( also, you Harry Potter crazies)
on August 29, 2005
A Series of Unfortunate Events is about one thing: an immersive experience. No detail is spared. The cinematography, designs, costumes, effects, music, the entire world is an incomparable artwork. Even if the rest of the movie was boring and annoying (which it's not), I would draw extreme pleasure and inspiration from the visuals and sounds.
Each time I watch it, I am even more awestruck by the craftsmanship, creativity, and flawless presentation. I love movies, however, this is one of only four films I own because it actually has replay value. The creative accomplishments of A Series of Unfortunate Events are rare amongst ANY artform. So, despite any shortcomings there may be in the plot, characters, etc., I have to give it five stars.
Many movie-goers, especially those with children, seem to be exclusively interested in moderation. That's why so many people are put-off by the dreary atmosphere, Jim Carrey's indulgent "over-acting," or the apparent simplicity of the story. If you are one of those people, that's not a bad thing, you like what you like...but I hope the day comes when your interest in such moderation is overcome by a startling artwork or life experience. And if you ever do gain more appreciation for less penetrable and more extreme things, I invite you to give this film another chance.
There are three types of expectations that seem to plague viewers' misunderstandings about this film:
1.Many reviewers here mention that the movie isn't funny, but seems to be billed as a comedy. And, hey! There's Jim Carrey! He's a comedian and he's acting all goofy, this movie is supposed to be funny! Wrong. There are some silly parts that are worth a giggle. But just because the movie is odd and tongue-in-cheek, that doesn't mean it is trying to be funny. I think the uneasy camp and theatricality without being overtly humorous is a rare quality that helps to enrich the film's environment.
2. There are also people who are upset because the movie is "supposed" to be for children, but apparently is not. Well, it IS rated PG (that means Parental -Guidance- for humans who haven't reached the age of reason). That doesn't mean it's bad because you expected something to show your child, that simply means it's not for your child. There is a lot of art that is not for your child, but that doesn't have anything to do with its quality.
3. Some believe that the movie does not do the books justice. First off, I can't think of a single movie based on a good book that can equal the book. Doing justice to a book through a film just doesn't work. The film is not intended as a summary or stand-in for the books, and if that's what you're looking for, just read the books again. I mentioned at the beginning that the main point of this movie is an immersive experience. Books don't have visuals and sound. Books are all about the reader's imagination. And the intense, detailed artistry of the film attempts, very successfully, to recreate the way in which we dive into our imaginations while reading. The books do their job, the movie does its job, so please, allow them to do their separate jobs without having to worry about what the other one is doing.
To the people who were expecting a comedy or a movie for all children (such as one that is rated G, not one that is rated PG), or simply a recreation of the books, I invite you to check your expectations at the door in the future. That might not help you enjoy this film, but it might allow you to enjoy other films down the road.
This is already too long, so I won't address the characters, casting, acting, or script, except to say that they are passable at worst and excellent at best, but all suitable for the end result. Some movies are built solely on their characters and/or performances. A Series of Unfortunate Events is not one of those movies. None of those aspects, no matter how good or bad, will make or break this film.
Finally, I'll address the story. No matter how simple or how complex a movie's plot, the driving force is conflict. The conflict in A Series of Unfortunate Events is everpresent, pushing the movie onward. There are multiple kinds of conflict operating, sometimes all at once. The superficial, episodic sort of conflict that arises with each new guardian and location. The persistent and overarching conflict of Count Olaf's pursuit. The background conflict that gradually interconnects the episodic conflict and grand conflicts to each other AND to the characters history, present, and future (and even further, to some of the underlying themes of the film). No matter how simple or predictable the story can be, there is always clear conflict, always demanding resolution.
I like this movie.
on December 17, 2004
Alot of people are going to hate me after this, but the worst problem with "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" is Jim Carrey, but I don't think the role of Count Olaf was meant for him. I like Jim Carrey, and I think he's very talented. He proves he can do great comedy, like in "The Mask" and "Bruce Almighty," and he proved that he could great do drama, like "The Truman Show" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," but he is just too big of a star for this movie. He was doing his own thing throughout, and while everybody else was on one level, he was on another, and the two didn't mix very well. I mentioned in my review for "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" that the second half of 2004 has been great visually. "Hero," "House of Flying Daggers," and now "Lemony Snicket" have great things to watch, and I think this movie actually requires a second viewing so you can look around and find all the little visual quirks you might have mixed. Look around the front hall when the children enter the home of Count Olaf. Paintings on the wall, the staircase. It's almost like you are stepping into a brand new world.
The movie is based on a seris of books. There are 13 in the seris overall, but only 11 have been written. This movie covers three of the books. "The Bad Beginning," "The Reptile Room," and "The Wide Window." I've read the books, and the movie covers the basic idea, but not word for word, and we jump the first book to the second to the third and back to the first again. We begin with the voice of Lemony Snicket at his typewriter, writing the story of the three Baudelaire children. There is Violet, who loves to invent, and whenever she is getting ready to invent something, she ties a ribbon to get the hair out of her eyes. There is Klaus, who loves to read, and is able to retain all the information he gets from books. Then there is baby Sunny, who has two teeth, and can bite anything. They always find her hanging from the table. She speaks in baby talk, and we get subtitles to translate what she says. Their parents die in a fire, and the banker Mr. Poe brings the children to live with their closet relative, and it's their parents third cousin four times removed or their fourth cousin three times removed. Whichever order, their relative is Count Olaf, a tall, actor with the tatoo of an eye on his ankle. He makes the children do chores, and cook roast beef dinners for his acting group, but his intentions are to kill the children and collect the fortune that their parents left behind. He tries to kill them, fails, and they get sent to live with their Uncle Monty, who is going to bring them on a trip to Peru, an animal lover with snakes, in cages, all over his house. Eventually they are sent to live with their safety freak Aunt Josephine, who doesn't like to open door with the knobs because she is scared that they will shatter and pieces will go into you eyes, and she doesn't like to cook things on the stove because she's scared that it'll blow up, so she feeds herself and the children cold cucumber soup. No matter where they go, they are always persued by Count Olaf, always in a different disguise, with his acting group not far behind, always with a clever trick up his sleeve to get that money.
Besides Jim Carrey, "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" has some all star cast members. People that you see all the time, but don't know their names. There is Catherine O'Hara as Olaf's neighbor. Cedric the Entertainer as a police officer. Olaf's theatre group includes Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Adams, Luis Guzmen, and Craig Ferguson. These names may not mean anything, but if you see the movie, you'll recongize them right away. The music is something else to see. Thomas Newmen is a brilliant composer. He did the music for one of my favorite movies, "American Beauty." His music gives such a gloomy feel, but you can't help but smile at it's genius. Stay for closing credits and listen, and you'll fall in love. I have been trying to rack my brain figuring out who would have made a better Count Olaf, but I can't think of any. Carrey also brings to much comedy to the roll, something that takes away much of the seriousness to the character. Olaf is not a nice person. He lies, cheats, steals, and kills to get his way, and you don't use those characteristics when you think about Jim Carrey.
Every single adult in this move, except for Count Olaf, is plain stupid. They just don't listen, which is a big problem in life. It's ironic that the children are always right, and the adults roll their eyes. What's so great about the film, is that Count Olaf uses the stupidity of these adults for his own benefit. Everything is connected to everything else. When Olaf is disguised, a person like you and me can see right through him, but not these characters. If they have any suspision that he is an imposter, they think that he is somebody completely different. It's darkly comic, and disturbing to think something like that could really happen. "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" is a very good movie, aside from Carrey's unwantedness. He simply was not right for the role. Maybe a John Malkovich type would have fit better. It's enough to bypass that performance, and just let the visuals wash all over you. I would see a sequal, because this movie doesn't tie up all the lose ends, and I'm glad that they are different from the book seris, otherwise, we would all know exactly how it ends, or if it doesn't end. Lemony Snicket was with the voice of Jude Law, as the 2004 Jude Law film festival concludes. This year alone, he's in "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," "I Heart Huckabees," "Alfie," "Closer," "Lemony Snicket," and "The Aviator," and he has become one of my favorite actors. His narration is perfect for this film, and his addition if truely wanted. Not one of the best films of the year, but certainly one of the most entertaining.
rated PG for thematic elements, scary situations and brief language.
on January 10, 2005
In Lemony Snicket's world, adults come in two flavors: (a) devious, and (b) well intentioned but frighteningly naive: on the one hand there is the evil Count Olaf (plus henchlings), who will disguise himself as anyone and do anything to get his hands on the Baudelaire orphans' fortune. On the other there are various relatives of the Baudelaire children (Meryl Streep, Billy Connolley, etc.), all of whom seem unequipped to deal with the real world and its treacheries.
Ironically, dear readers, the Baudelaire children themselves are completely capable of spotting the evil in the world and in finding their way around it. Every time Olaf (Jim Carrey)pops up it takes the kids about 2 seconds to see what he's up to, and after some Unfortunate Events, to get the best of him.
The whole thing seems to take place in some Edward-Gorey-Tim-Burtony-gothic alternative universe (the film is really fun to LOOK at, the costumes and sets are great). Yes, Jim Carrey is over-the-top, but in this part it sort of *works*: it seems right, somehow, that the kids (and the audience) can see in a split second it's the same old Count Olaf and the same old Jim Carrey, but the adults in the film cannot.
This is, readers, as it should be, and your kids will enjoy watching it with you (they do love the feeling they might be smarter than you, after all). The smallest ones may be frightened at several points (the leaping leeches, for example), but everyone else will find it a fine evening out.
on May 16, 2005
I have read the first three books, and saw the movie.
I thought that everyone did a GREAT job!
Jim Carrey was fantastic, actually, he is the only one I can truly picture being Count Olaf.
The people who created the sets and costumes were fabulous!
I found the having all of the eyes around to be really creepy, and unsettling.
I have just one question about the Special Edition DVD:
I DO NOT recall seeing anywhere or anyone mention that a copy of the 1st Book would be included with the Special Edition DVD...
I read the Technical Aspects of both this and the Regular Widescreen DVD, and neither said that it came with a book.
Now I have TWO copies of the First book, but I do not want to give my FIRST first copy away as I got the first three books as part of the Box Set...
Has anyone else noticed this?
on March 6, 2005
Okay, let me start by saying that I am a die-hard fan of the books. I also think that people should not watch this movie without reading the books. If you are a fan of the books, however, you shouldn't expect it to be exactly the same. For example, there is a scene about half way through that doesn't really come up until Book the 11th- The Grim Grotto. I'm talking about the part where, for the first time that I can think of, the orphans truely greive for their parents. On the other (and more significant, in my opinion) hand, I think that the movie does a great job of capturing the humor of the books without making it into a little kids' movie. I went into the theater thinking that there would be either too much or not enough humor- I think that Lemony Snicket did a brilliant job balancing the humor and tragedy in the books.
Basically, that's all I have to say. Buy this movie.
on February 24, 2005
(NOTE: This review discusses my impressions of the film; I'm assuming that the specifics of plot and development will be handled elsehwere.)
Please believe me when I say that I'm not saying this in order to be snide; it's merely an observation. The explanation is most simply explained this way: THE TRUMAN SHOW was a movie with Jim Carrey in it; THE MASK is a Jim Carrey movie. This show, LEMONY SNICKET'S etc etc, is a Jim Carrey movie.
This is not to say that the film is bad. The cinematography was lovely, and the actors playing the children are indeed luminaries; after all, it takes a helluva lot to be able to share the screen with a personality and presence as large as Mr. Carrey's, and when he's intentionally (and to good effect) going WAAAAY over the top...! The writing of the film was intelligent, with good dialog, and some wonderful wordplay. Further, Billy Connelly and Meryl Streep were absolutely brilliant. The cherry on top was the cameo by Dustin Hoffman as a theater critic -- wonderfully outrageous.
So why only three stars? Because Carrey was allowed to take a little too much of the screen. Mr. Carrey is a talented and capable actor, as seen in TRUMAN SHOW, MAJESTIC, and other such works. When he's allowed to go completely over the top, out the door, down the Interstate, and back up the Old Straight Track... yes, it can be fun, and it can also be tiring. I can't help feeling that, if he'd been reigned in just one or two notches, and he'd been allowed to go crazy only a few times instead of every time, the film would have shone of its own brilliance rather than from the blinding magnesium flare of Carrey's exuberant performance.
At the risk of sounding like I'm a salesman for Amazon, I can recommend the Thomas Newman soundtrack -- particularly the final cut, "Drive Away," heard during the end credits. The highly imaginative animated sequence, combined with this singularly wonderful piece of music, is worth the price of admission. I suspect I'll purchase the DVD simply so I can watch the end credits over and over again.
Overall, the film is very much worth seeing. It's perhaps greedy of me to say that I wish it were just a little bit more worth seeing. Kudos to all, and a note to director Brad Silberling: With a brilliance like Mr. Carrey to work with, less is truly more.
on March 12, 2005
In Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events you are tranfered into a world where reality and imagination meet. This one of those rare movies that kids and grown-ups may both actual enjoy watching together.
The movie takes place when the Baudelaire children are suddenly orphaned by a sudden and mysterious fire at their home- leaving them with nothing and with hardly any family left... Voilet, Klaus, and Sunny who are imaginatively creative, and intelligent children are sent to live with their uncle- Count Olaf who works them day and night while he lives off their parents large fortune. He attempts to kill them-- after the first incident the children are sent to live with another uncle(Bill Connolly) who isn't afraid of anything and lives in a mansion that has a lavish snake collection-- until Olaf shows up. The children are then sent to live with their crazy aunt(Streep) who is increadiably morbid and fearful person. She eventually is eating up by leeches. The children through their misfortune and mishaps more secrets about their mother and father as well, as the fact-- their not so misfortunate as long as they are together.
With wonderful sets and an intelligently not over the top script this movie is simply perfect great for kids and adults.
Jim Carrey is a jack of all trades in this movie showing up three times trying to ruin the lives of the young sudden orphans... and does just as good a job as he did as the Grinch as Count Olaf-- making us love and hate him at the same time. The young girl that played Violet reminds me of a young Scarlett Johanasson with the same striking features and same serious nature on the screen-- I am almost certain we have not seen the last of her. Although, I'm not much of a Meryl Streep fan I love her in this movie as the zanny word-crazy aunt to the children. All in all this film has genuinely good performances especially those done by the young children in nothing short it's amazing.
All in all this a must- see on family movie night!
on December 21, 2004
Adapting a series of what one would consider the modern equivalent of classic literary novels to the big screen can be quite a tough assignment even for the best in the movie business, especially for those little known directors or those with limited experience. But, if done properly, this can pay tremendous dividends for both the studio releasing the film and the director himself. For the studio, by hiring a lesser known director they save money on an already colossal production budget and receive huge profits upon its success in theaters. The director, on the other hand, will undoubtedly be hit with offers both left and right once he decides to move on to his next project, leading to a substantial increase in his salary. Everyone wins! So Brad Silberling, whose past theatrical experiences have sadly been limited to Caspar the Movie, City of Angels, and Moonlight Mile, had to have been happy with the news that he would now head the feature film adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events after Barry Sonnenfeld left due to the project's budget concerns. Already the project has successfully dodged a "Wild, Wild West"-style bullet and looks scott-free from here!
The story follows three recently orphaned children as they attempt to outrun and outwit their diabolical uncle who unabated desire for their family's inheritance will go to any lengths to have them removed permanently from achieving his goal. Violet, the oldest of the three Baudelire children, is a brilliant fast-thinker and invents things out of anything she can possibly find around the house. Klaus, the middle child and only boy of the family, is extremely intelligent and memorizes everything he reads in the dozen of books within the library of their family's mansion. Sunny, the infant child, has a tendency to bite and speaks only in unintelligent garble that only her two other siblings can understand. Due to an unforeseen unfortunate event which engulfs the family mansion in flames and takes the lives of their parents, the three Baudelire children - now the three Baudelire orphans - are sent to live with their distant relative, the cunning and dastardly Count Olaf, an untalented actor who wants to snatch the children's inheritance and use it for his devious purposes. Being found a negligent guardian after allowing the youngest child to sit in the driver seat of his car, though in all honesty this was all part of an elaborate attempt to have them run over by a train, they are then sent to live with Uncle Montgomery Montgomery, a professor in herpetology. After a strange lab assistant murders the professor mysterious during the night, the Baudelire orphans are sent to live with their grammar-wise Aunt Josephine, a widow who has lived in utter fear of practically everything after her husband was eaten alive years ago by fleshing-eating leeches. They find themselves once again in the possession of the evil Count Olaf after their far-distant aunt meets an untimely fate with the flesh-eating leeches of the lake and they must use their specific talents to defeat him before achieving his plan of marrying young Violet in yet another shrewd attempt to steal their inheritance.
The story for Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a practically flawless presentation of some of the most cultivated content, though still stylized enough to be categorized as a family-oriented feature, aimed for the pre-teenage set this side of the Harry Potter fantasy universe. Even with that in mind, that material is still enriching enough to spark a certain amount of constructive debate among its desired audience base. All of this is assured of course given that you are not one of the crazed novel enthusiasts who howl and moan every time a mere sentence is altered from the text. It is always more appropriate that you go into these sorts of films without any prior knowledge of the previously released texts as this sort of thing can only lead to nick-picking, a terrible and annoying habit which ruins the viewing experience for everyone involved - those members of the Harry Potter, and to a lesser extent The Lord of the Rings, sects know exactly what this means.
As was the case with Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas, there will undoubtedly be critics of Jim Carrey's amplified antics in the role of the villainous Count Olaf, no more so then from the fanatic fan-base of the literary series, clamoring that his interpretation of the character offset his truly monstrous nature and intentions as the novels indicate. Yes, Carrey does give about an amusing quality to Count Olaf, or maybe that is only do to the workings of the young orphans against him that we find so entertaining. In either case, crucial scenes such as the one where he is show slapping Klaus for speaking up against him in front of his acting troupe demonstrates the character's truly malevolent nature which must be despised and scorned rather then mock. This becomes even more evident when children take into account the idea that Count Olaf is attempting to kill his own relatives - no matter how distant - for his own profitable gain. Meryl Streep, an Academy-Award wining performer entirely unfamiliar with the realm of family-oriented productions such as this, takes to the role like a total natural with no question to her magic implored in the role of Aunt Josephine. And what is more is that she does this without having to be as drunk as a skunk as she was at the recent Golden Globes ceremony - Alright, that was not exactly an evaluation of her performance but rather a well deserved jab that has been in quite seclusion for quite some time waiting for the appropriate moment to be let loose. Jude Law, who without question has become the Colin Farrell of 2004 after appearing in what would seem like twenty films this year alone, gives to the narrator of Lemony Snicket a composed, mystifying, and regularly witty voice that could not have been delivered as respectively as he does here.
If there is one distressing piece of criticism to be named concerning A Series of Unfortunate Events it would definitively have to be its rather prevalent list of redundant cameos. Was it truly imperative for the filmmakers to cast Cedric the Entertainer, a comedian whose past work few children within the picture's desirable age range would know anything about, in the role of the extraneous detective investigating the sudden death of Uncle Monty? Granted, the feature's intentions are for it to appear as a family picture set against the realm of fantasy and make-believe but his entire approach to the character, merely a toned-down version of his usual - for a lesser word - comical stick, seems offsetting to the rest of the film. What is to be said about Dustin Hoffman's brief appearance? True, his introduction as the critic attending Count Olaf's latest theatrical "masterpiece" is a bit amusing to say the least but it grows tiresome fast and is purely a waste of rich talent and covetable screen time. Veracious cinematic minds shaking their heads in utter disbelief that man behind Tootsie would stoop so low as to make a disastrous cameo need not fret, he does not receive credit for it. And last, and certainly in this case least of all, here is the most disgraceful display of overzealous product placement in recent cinematic memory, or at the very least since the last Adam Sandler picture. Gilbert Gottfried receives credit - how is it that he says one simple word and receives credit while Hoffman states a few lines and appropriates nothing - for his voice-over work as the AFLAC duck which makes a momentary appearance in the film, though to be true that is all too much to begin with. Had it not been for this careless list of cameo disasters then casting would have been practically perfect in every conceivable way possible - and did that just come off as too Mary Poppin-ish?
Overall, though literary zealots may whimper and wail over the very thought of even the tiniest aspect of the franchise changing in this feature film adaptation, what to them may seem like a series of unfortunate events might, in fact, be the first steps of an even greater and more whimsical franchise ahead. One of the most marvelous aspects this film manages to present successfully to its audience is its ability to not only entertain but inform as well, not merely through a monotonous series of long-winded speeches but a variety of operations that, no matter how exaggerated they may be, reflect upon experiences in our own lives. The young children who are anticipated to be A Series of Unfortunate Events' core audience this holiday season are at quite a vulnerable age, standing at what some would consider "the water's edge". Slowly but surely they are beginning to mature into free-thinking and conscious adults and admirable members of society, or as close as they can be depending on the behavior of one's own family. Though it is suppose to be the direct responsibility of the parents to instill in their children lessons to assimilate throughout life, it certainly does not hurt to have popular culture such as films like this expand on their teachings. The most sensational thing pertaining to the characters of this film is that they teach us that even the best of individuals have their own little quirks about them but, despite these seeming strange to us, they do not change the natural good inside them that they have already demonstrated. In fact, they may even make them better individuals. Another lesson too many children in this world learn all too late in this life is that the world is not always a happy and fair place and events do not always work out in the way we would want them to. Those that raise their children with the hippie-dippy view of society, that being that all men and women no matter how evil they may seem have a source of good in them, should be jailed for child neglect. What a horrible and ignorant way to propagate their minds like that! But Lemony Snicket's most decisive lesson taught within the course of this film is that no matter where you are or how dire the situation may be, as long as you are surrounded by friends and family, you are never truly far from your home. Quite simply, this is the best family film this holiday season and will sure to go down as one of top ten family features of the year.