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Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events (Widescreen Edition)

4.2 out of 5 stars 900 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

*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

Aunt Josephine

Count Olaf and Aunt Josephine

Directing Jim Carrey

Klaus, Mr. Poe, Sunny, and Violet

Count Olaf

Olaf Ascending

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

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Ominous Omnibus, Books 1-3

The Situation Worsens: A Box of Unfortunate Events, Books 4-6

The Dilemma Deepens: A Box of Unfortunate Events, Books 7-9

The Slippery Slope: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 10

The Grim Grotto: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 11

A Library of Unfortunate Events, Books 1-10

Behind the Scenes with Count Olaf: A Series of Unfortunate Events Movie Book

Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography

The Puzzling Puzzles Activity Book

More from the Movie

Original Movie Poster


Wall Poster

Special Features

  • - Bad Beginnings (3 Featurettes)
  • - Orphaned Scenes (11 Deleted Scenes and 5 Outtakes)

Product Details

  • Actors: Jim Carrey, Jude Law, Meryl Streep, Liam Aiken, Emily Browning
  • Directors: Brad Silberling
  • Writers: Daniel Handler, Robert Gordon
  • Producers: Albie Hecht, Barry Sonnenfeld, Jim Van Wyck, Julia Pistor, Laurie MacDonald
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: April 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (900 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007PICAS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,786 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J.A. VINE VOICE on December 17, 2004
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.
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Format: DVD
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.
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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)
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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.
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