Day 13: 31/05/2018
The Series of Unfortunate Events, Barry Sonnenfeld
The story of The Series of Unfortunate Events is among my Top 3 in my life. When I think of the story written in the books, it sparks a feeling inside me that I can’t put my finger on. TSOUE is highly influential in my taste and love for gothic mystery. Not only the plotline but look at how well written this is:
If you have walked into a museum recently—whether
you did so to attend an art exhibition
or to escape from the police—you may
have noticed a type of painting known as a triptych.
A triptych has three panels, with something
different painted on each of the panels.
I am a writer, and not a painter, but if I
were to try and paint a triptych entitled The
Baudelaire Orphans’ Miserable Experiences at
Prufrock Prep, I would paint Mr. Remora on
one panel, Mrs. Bass on another, and a box
of staples on the third.
Incredible intro to a new chapter.
However as much as the storytelling in the first book impresses me, the series are incredibly disappointing and unreal. This makes the series a great lesson on how good stories can be told bad. I believe the problems lie in directing which also causes Neil Patrick Harris to portray Count Olaf in a very loose way that gets boring. In the style of directing I sense the influence of Wes Anderson but it is done so dull that it feels like the actors are reading the book in costume which is a shame because the production design looks incredible. Also the series lack a lot of the meaning VFD which is one of the biggest mysteries in the book. It could be argued that the books also keep those mysteries really closed but what I would do with it would be to translate it to the medium of the screen where there is more emphasis on those topics. Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) released Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography right after the book series have finished which contains a lot more information on background story of the Baudelaire orphans, their families and the secret organization they belong to called the VFD. One interesting thing that has been done in this story is that both the protagonists (parents of the kids) and the antagonists belong to the same secret organization and at first you question what to feel about them (a lot like the concept of Horcrux in the Harry Potter series) but later on the truth about it is revealed. So what I would do would be to integrate information from that last book on the series as well in a natural way so the story would not feel as disconnected. The series fail incredibly in going deep into the story, it feels to me that it is being filmed without being understood.