It is seriously fortunate that A Series of Unfortunate Events has found a place on Netflix.
Truly one of the best book to screen adaptations, A Series of Unfortunate Events follows the Baudelaire children after the sudden death of their parents. Their lives go from bad to worse as a man, Count Olaf, begins to plot villainous plots, all to steal the children’s inheritance. And in a world full of ignorant adults, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are left to fend for themselves.
Ignorant here meaning foolish and blind to their own unintelligence.
Although a negative trait to have, this show is anything but. Full of twists and turns, dark intentions, and brilliant visuals, A Series of Unfortunate Events will surely, and quickly, become a new cult classic.
And this might be due to the books’ author putting pen to paper for the scripts. The dialogue, which I am told is often pulled from the pages, is witty and always with purpose. The story creates a wonderful motif of adults promoting their (un)intelligence by explaining the meaning of seemingly difficult worlds, which in turn leads the children to reveal they already know it.
Of course, it’s at this point that I must reveal I didn’t always know the meaning of those words and have found the explanations very helpful.
But dialogue is dead without actors, and the actors have done brilliantly. Malina Weissman and Louis Haynes (Violet and Klaus respectively) both brought to life their frustrated characters brilliantly. Their performances were thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to seeing them return to the role in season 2.
It’s here I ask the reader to look away and to perhaps ignore the disagreeable opinion of this reviewer. Neil Patrick Harris has become a greatly valued actor, but his performance as Count Olaf doesn’t seem appropriate for the praise he is given. The role seems forced, even strange at times. But not as strange as the obvious Sunny replacement that Violet and Klaus often carry.
It isn’t often that I notice set or costumes, but the popping and contrasting visuals create a highly convincing world. From the rotting boards of Olaf’s house, to Justice Strauss’ vibrant garden, the visuals themselves tell a wonderful story.
And brilliantly tying everything together, the story, the visuals, and the characters, is Lemony Snicket. Brought to life by Patrick Warburton, Lemony Snicket is the most intriguing part of the series. His interjections are never unwanted, invalid, or boring, even if he delivers his lines with a dry, sour voice. He makes the series of unfortunate events the children endure more bearable for the viewers and he is easily my favourite part of the show.
A Series of Unfortunate Events is one of the best shows I have watched these holidays. The visuals are incredible, the story is formidable, and I cannot wait until season two.
I might even have to go read the books.
Review by Brittany Howarth
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