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DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 107 minutes, deleted scenes, outtakes, commentaries, several featurettes, galleries, and more on two discs

STUDIO: Paramount/Dreamworks/Nickelodeon

RELEASE DATE: 4-26-2005

ANALYSIS: Someone has stolen Tim Burton's brain and he wants it back. The production design and story of Lemony Snicket's A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS feels and looks like a Tim Burton. However, it was directed by Brad Silberling. He has created a fantastically bizarre world with off the wall characters and a fantasy world that is strange and yet compelling. Jim Carrey steals the show as the inept Villain/bad actor Count Olaf, but Emily Browning also holds her own as fourteen year old inventor, Violet Baudelaire.

Violet, her brother Klaus (who remembers everything he reads), and their baby sister Sunny lose their parents when the family mansion burns down. Count Olaf (an evil, bad actor) ends up as their legal guardian who can't wait to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune. He tries to kill the children only to be outsmarted due to Violet's quick invention that switches the train tracks. The children go to new gaurdians with Count Olaf not far behind (in disguise naturally). Count Olaf will try to find a way to make sure each gaurdian befalls an unfortunate fate to get the kids again. Bill Connolly is a hoot as Uncle Monty while Meryl Streep (as hypochondriac Aunt Josephine) proves once again why she is an overlooked talent. I have no idea why they needed Dustin Hoffman (he does get to do something in the deleted scenes and outtakes).

Lemony Snicket's A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS is a visual delights from the matte paintings to the props to Violet's little inventions that save her and her siblings, Count Olaf's car, and the costumes. There is something for everyone in this film whether you're a kid or adult. You can't forget the very deadly viper or the happy elf.

VIDEO/AUDIO: The movie is presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. The transfer is good. Colors, blacks, and image detail aren't bad at all.

The audio is also great. You can A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS in English 5.1 Dolby Surround, French 5.1, or Spanish 5.1 with the option of English subtitles. The deleted scenes and featurettes have the option of English, French, or Spanish subtitles.


DVD Producer David Prior has done another excellent job with this DVD. It is filled to the brim with extras. He has produced and directed the featurettes. This DVD still doesn't match up to the best David Prior produced DVD, the PANIC ROOM Special Edition DVD. It still is a hard act to beat.

DISC 1- Two audio commentaries were recorded for the movie. The first is with director Brad Silberling and the second has Brad being joined by the real Lemony Snicket. The second commentary is boring.

Bad Beginnings features two featurettes and an interactive Olaf feature where you can decide which Jim Carrey as Olaf screen test to hear while video from all four is playing on the screen. BUILDING A BAD ACTOR goes behind the scenes of Jim Carey as Olaf with talks about his screen tests as the various characters (Olaf and the two others Olaf disguised himself as) and an Olaf disguise that was abandoned. MAKING THE BAUDELAIRE CHILDREN MISERABLE focuses on the actors chosen to play the kids in the movie.

Rounding off the first disc are thirty minutes of deleted scenes, extended scenes, and outtakes. Jim Carrey shows off his genius in many of these cut scenes. I wish some of them were kept in the movie.

DISC 2- Several featurettes on the making of A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, and interactive feature of the various sound elements that go into parts of two scenes, and three production galleries.

A WOEFUL WORLD is an overlong 54 minute featurette on the production design and sets of the movie in addition to how the sets were created (and force perspective was used in some of them). COSTUMES AND OTHER SUSPICOUS DISGUISES looks at the costume design of the movie (Jim Carrey does an impersonation of the current governor of California) while VIOLET'S FUNCTIONAL DESIGNS focuses on the clever inventions that Violet created in the movie. CAUTION! INCREDIBLY DEALY VIPERS goes behind the scenes with the Snake Wrangler and the safety precautions he puts in place when deadly snakes are on set. Also a behind-the-scenes look at a puppet snake used in one scene. THE SAD SCORE drives home the point of how bigger movies are having shorter post-production which means the composer had to deliver the music in less time.

THE UNSOUND SOUND DESIGNER is on the sound effects and sound design of the movie. Then you can hear the various sound elements that go into a couple of scenes. SINSTER SPECIAL EFFECTS contains four featurettes on the special effects of the movie.

MENUS: The animated menus are fantastic. They add to the environment created by the film and the extras. The menus are in sync with the fantastic design of the film.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Lemony Snicket's A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS is a fantastic visual movie. The two disc DVD is packed with loads of interesting extras.

this DVD Review is (c)4-29-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia