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Review of “A Series of Unfortunate Events”

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Official poster for "A Series of Unfortunate Events"

Official poster for "A Series of Unfortunate Events"

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A Series of Unfortunate Events written by Lemony Snicket (the pen name of Daniel Handler) follows the life of three orphans after the parents perish in a fire. The book series was made into a movie in 2004 starring Jim Carrey and has now been adapted as a series on Netflix.
Each book of the series is covered in two episodes of the show. Currently, only four of the books have been brought to life on Netflix, but filming is already in the works for the next season. The show is meant to follow the books, but with several noticeable differences. For example, in the books Lemony Snicket is only the narrator and author “behind the scenes”, but in the show he serves as the narrator abut is shown front and center from the very beginning, making him an actual character.
In the books, Snicket uses a whimsical and joyful word choices mixed in with all the dark events happening, in an effort to make the series seem not so bleak. Those literary elements could never be applied to the big screen, making the show seem even darker than the books.
Another very significant change from the books to the show was the addition of a completely new subplot. Two parents (Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders) are shown having escaped their kidnappers and are trying to get back to their children. It isn’t revealed whose patents they are until episode seven.

There is also another character addition. Jacqueline (Sara Canning) is introduced as a member of the secret society, the Volunteer Fire Department (VFD). She also works as Mr. Poe’s secretary at the bank and tries to keep the Baudelaire children safe from Count Olaf’s clutches. In the books, the VFD isn’t introduced until nearly halfway into the series, but the association is introduced almost right away in the show.
The show executed numerous things. There was an extensive amount of attention paid to detail in every background setting; such as the placement of every object in Count Olaf’s filthy home. Another thing that was vital to the show’s success was the portrayal of Count Olaf by Neil Patrick Harris. He was able to bring the twisted personality of the main antagonist in the books to life. The show’s makeup and costume artists also deserve an important mention. They were able to execute transforming Harris into Olaf, making him nearly unrecognizable.
They also hit the ball out of the park with all of Olaf’s disguises. As well as Olaf’s portrayal, the entire cast as a whole stood out for their accurate portrayals. Malina Weissman, plays Violet Baudelaire. Violet is a brilliant inventor who has a complex personality, but always cares for her younger siblings. Weissman was able to nail her character’s personality and physical description from the books. Louis Haynes plays Klaus, the middle sibling. Klaus is often thought of the “nerd” of the family because he enjoys reading and learning. He is able to problem solve quickly, because he’s as educated as he is. Haynes fits into the role flawlessly with his appearance and how he interacts with other characters. Even Presley Smith, an infant who plays Sunny, the youngest Baudelaire sibling, does an outstanding job. Sunny is a baby that can’t yet form words and whose favorite pastime is biting things. Smith excels with facial expressions and her movements.
The first season of the Netflix series has exceeded the expectations of many. The second season isn’t predicted to be released until next January, so that gives people several options to do until then. Viewers can go and read up on the 14 books in the series, binge watch the first season over and over again, or both.

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Albert Lea High School Newspaper
Review of “A Series of Unfortunate Events”