Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong (shadesong) wrote,
Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong

An Unfortunate Adaptation

A Series of Unfortunate Events was a good movie.

But not as good as it should have been.

There's been an upswing lately in children's books that take children a bit more seriously that usual - that trust them to handle darker stuff. The Lemony Snicket books, while not serious by any means, are an example of this.

There are bad evil mean naughty people out there. They kill people, even. And sometimes your guardian won't listen and won't help you. And, on the more fanciful side, there are leeches that will eat you alive. Stuff like that.

These books make you giggle when you read them - but they do not have happy endings. They are quite dark. They are, after all, a series of unfortunate events.

The movie was fun - but it was not dark. At least, not dark enough.

The movie played it safe.

The books, you see, treat the juvenile reader with respect. The movie... doesn't. It's a good movie - but it tends to pat the viewer on the head a bit overmuch. "There, there," it seems to say. "It's okay. They'll catch Count Olaf, and then the orphans will have candy every day!"

No. They. Won't. The orphans are in constant peril, and will continue to be in grim and dangerous straits for at least twelve books. They are not happy.

Why don't the filmmakers trust the kids to understand this? To not be distressed? To not cry over the horrible fate of the Baudelaires?

Because their fate is horrible - and that's the bloody point.

This was not a bad movie - but, compared to the books, it condescended to the reader.

And, IMO, that's the direct opposite of the attitude of the books.

They could have done this much better.

I'd love to hear from those who've seen the movie but haven't read the book. Get some alternate impressions on this.

Hell, I'd love to hear from other people overall. The happying-up of childrens' movies is a bit of a pet peeve of mine anyway.

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