In Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, after Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire's parents perish in a terrible fire, they are placed in the care of their uncle, Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), an evil fiend who is plotting to kill them and seize their fortune. The orphans travel from guardian to guardian, including herpetologist Montgomery Montgomery (Billy Connolly) and grammar-wise Aunt Josephine Anwhistle (Streep), but the worst guardian of all is Count Olaf. Plotting to steal the children’s fortune, Olaf disguises himself as his assistant Stephano and ship captain Julio Sham and keeps popping up in the strangest places. Just when the Baudelaires think things are getting better, something unfortunate happens!
If you spliced Charles Addams, Dr. Seuss, Charles Dickens, Edward Gorey, and Roald Dahl into a Tim Burtonesque landscape, you'd surely come up with something like Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Many critics (in mostly mixed reviews) wondered why Burton didn't direct this comically morbid adaptation of the first three books in the popular series by Daniel Handler (a.k.a. "Lemony Snicket," played here by Jude Law and seen only in silhouette) instead of TV and Casper veteran Brad Silberling, but there's still plenty to recommend the playfully bleak scenario, in which three resourceful orphans thwart their wicked, maliciously greedy relative Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), who subjects them to... well, a series of unfortunate events. Along the way they encounter a herpetologist uncle (Billy Connolly), an anxious aunt (Meryl Streep) who's afraid of everything, and a variety of fantastical hazards and mysterious clues, some of which remain unresolved. Given endless wonders of art direction, costume design, and cinematography, Silberling's direction is surprisingly uninspired (in other words, the books are better), but when you add a throwaway cameo by Dustin Hoffman, Law's amusing narration, and Carrey's over-the-top antics, the first Lemony movie suggests a promising franchise in the making. --Jeff Shannon
A Message from Count Olaf
Dear Adoring Fan of Count Olaf,
Perhaps once every thousand years, a talent emerges that completely changes the way movies are made, orphans are orphaned, and heartthrobs throb. Often this talent has only one eyebrow, as is the case with one of the most cherished and admired actors scheming today. Surely you can you guess of whom I think.
No, you fool! I am referring to the One...the Only...the Unbelievably Handsome Count Olaf!
Or, as I like to call him, Me.
If you've already seen my performance in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, you must still be speechless. But if you haven't, you are in serious danger. Just teasing. But you could be after I send one of my gifted henchpersons to your home!
So why not get my movie on DVD? This major motion spectacle has everything. Me, acting! Leeches, attacking! Orphans, almost falling off a cliff! Of course, if you are familiar with books by Lemony Snicket, you know that they include all of these things too, but most of what he says is lies, and the rest is completely boring.
There's never been a film that demands repeated viewing in quite the same way, with a diabolical genius writing you a letter that says, "I DEMAND REPEATED VIEWING!!!" Plus with DVD extras, you'll get at least 20% more Olaf for your money. And... just for you, for an unlimited time only, I'll throw in Aunt Josephine free with purchase.*
So, noble Amazonians, put down your hunting spears and exotic headdresses, and prepare to bask in True Greatness. Or, as I like to call it, Me.
Of course you may have my autograph!
*Count Olaf will not be held liable or accept blame in any way for any and all liability, loss, damage, or personal injury (including death), without limit and without regard once Aunt Josephine is thrown in, due to the unpredictable behavior of hungry leeches.
Stills from Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (Click to Enlarge)
Violet, Count Olaf, and Klaus
Count Olaf and Aunt Josephine
Directing Jim Carrey
Klaus, Mr. Poe, Sunny, and Violet
The Baudelaire Orphans
All Things Snicket
See a complete list of all Lemony Snicket's creations, including books from the Series of Unfortunate Events, calendars, and more.
The Essential Lemony Snicket Books
More from the Movie