A Series of Unfortunate Events is the best kind of adaptation, one that is able to keep to the spirit of its source material while also bringing in new and exciting elements that add to the experience.
Based on the children’s book series of the same name, Unfortunate Events is a delightfully dark comedy that follows the lives of the three Baudelaire orphans: Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes) and their baby sister Sunny (voiced by Tara Strong).
Together, the siblings are constantly having to outsmart their villainous uncle Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris) who wants to steal their family fortune.
The main hook of the series is in the title: the Baudelaires often find themselves in situations that, on the surface, seem to be absolutely miserable, whether it’s being sold into servitude by their evil uncle or forced to live in a shack that hangs over a lake of man-eating leeches.
However, that’s all part of the joke and the end result plays out more like a Tom & Jerry cartoon by way of Tim Burton.
While the entire cast is brilliant, the highlight is definitely Harris who’s clearly having the time of his life in his role as chief bad guy. With the way he chews the scenery every time he’s on screen, it’s a wonder there’s any left for the rest of the cast to act in.
Another briliant touch is the use of Patrick Warburton as the author Lemony Snicket, who serves as the chief narrator of the series and occassionally pops in to explain events, a lá Rod Serling in the original Twilight Zone.
Believe it or not, this is actually lifted straight from the novels. Lemony Snicket is the pen-name and self-insert character of author Daniel Handler and the books are written from his perspective as he documents the lives of the Baudelaires.
All in all, A Series of Unfortunate Events is a must-see. While it may be a little dark for younger audiences, it is still a lot of fun, especially for fans of a darker style of comedy.