Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good adaptation of the books

No sequels

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

Studio:  Nickelodeon Movies

Genre(s):  Comedy/Family

Release Date(s):  December 17, 2004

MPAA Rating:  PG


I’ll get you in the sequel! Or not…

The Baudelaire children’s luck has taken a turn for the worse.  Violet (Emily Browning), Klaus (Liam Aiken), and Sunny (Kara and Shelby Hoffman) are orphaned by a fire and forced to live with their relative Count Olaf (Jim Carrey) who wants nothing more than their fortune.  On the run from Olaf, Klaus, Violet, and Sunny find that none of the adults will believe the truth about the murderous Olaf…so the Baudelaire will have to save themselves from a series of unfortunate events.

Directed by Brad Silberling, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events adapts the first three books of A Series of Unfortunate Events.  The books The Bad Beginning (1999), The Reptile Room (1999), and The Wide Window (2000) were written by Lemony Snicket which is the pseudonym for Daniel Handler.  The movie was well received and meant to be the start of a franchise but instead underperformed at the box office.  The film won an Academy Award for Best Makeup.


I hate to break this to you, Meryl…but you’re not getting a nomination for this.

I had read the three books adapted for this movie before the movie.  The movie was rather faithful to the source material (which was successful) and the movie looked good…but it failed.  I’m not exactly sure why.

The story plays a bit with the format of the novels.  The stories in the novels in general is a little repetitive but the movie manages to bypass a bit of the repetitive nature by juggling the story narrative of the first book.  The book splits up the beginning of A Series of Unfortunate Events:  The Bad Beginning by taking the start of the novel and finishing the end of the movie with the end of the book.  It works well.

The cast is also pretty good.  The style of Jim Carrey’s acting fits the character of Olaf and the cast three talented kids as the leads.  In addition to them, Jude Law as Lemony Snicket, Billy Connolly, Meryl Streep, Catherine O’Hara, Craig Ferguson, Louis Guzman, Cedric the Entertainer, Jane Lynch, Helena Bonham Carter, Timothy Spall, and Dustin Hoffman all have roles in the movie.


Who doesn’t love the Incredibly Deadly Viper?

The stylized movie also seemed to capture the look of the books.  The movie looks a lot like Tim Burton’s style, but it still has some originality to it.  I think a kid who hasn’t been exposed to some of the more extreme directors might enjoy this movie as surreal film.

The movie sets up a lot of mystery and gives the impression that the movie will have a sequel.  It didn’t.  I think the movie was true to the books, and I don’t understand why it didn’t do better.  The movie might have been too much for some viewers.  It turned out that it truly was a series of unfortunate events though the series resurfaced on Netflix in 2017.

Related Links:

A Series of Unfortunate Events—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

A Series of Unfortunate Events 4:  The Miserable Mill

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response