Monday, January 10

Christian Dad's Movie Review:
A Series of Unfortunate Events

Well I try to get to see movies a little closer to when they come out, so that my review might do some good to my gentle readers. But alas, the holidays and recalcitrant children conspired so that we just got to this movie this last weekend. And as is my custom, I'll cut to the chase quickly, I recommend this film. It is well crafted and enjoyable. While its themes are not Christian in nature, they are at the same time not antithetical to Christian life.

Capsule Synopsis:
This movie is loosely based on the popular series of children's books of the same name. Three young exceptional Baudelaire children (Violet, Klaus, and the baby Sunny) are orphaned at a young age. Their parents were very wealthy and the first "close" relative to take them up is alas the Count Olaf. The Count is villain of the piece and we later discover the arson who killed their parents. He attempts to murder them and loses his custody (and for a time his chance at their fortune). The orphans then proceed through two other eccentric distant relatives in the start of a parade of foster parents and homes. Both of these parents are slain by the evil Count. When the Count discovers that killing them wouldn't net him the fortune, he tries to wed Violet (to then kill her and assume the fortune of course). Through the bravery and ingenuity of Klaus his plot is foiled. Alas, he escapes for the sequel.

Graphic violence, where it might be indicated by plot, all occurs off screen. The artistry of the sets is magnificent and the three children fit their roles to a "T". Mr Carey (as the evil Count) plays his role (as usual) over the top, but it works dramatically, after all the Count is an out of work actor. The dialog is funny and smart. So as far as the craft of movie making goes, this film dots its "i's" and crosses it's "t's", consistent with its Dreamworks studio origin.

How about message? Several themes run throughout this film. This film stresses that there are good and evil people in the world and that no matter how it seems, the good outweighs the bad. Familial loyalty is a primary virtue and the resourcefulness of the children takes a primary role in their survival. That there exists a secret society of "good" people with their secret signs will resonate with Early Christian history. The rest of the world are either clueless or evil, which may have resonance as well. Though nobody in the film demonstrates any evidence of Christian faith or symbol, at the same time, the "world" they live in is enough removed from reality it could be seen as allegorical.