The Lemony Snicket movie was
1) cliched - making lukewarm use of items borrowed from Harry Potter and Spy Kids,
2) ill cast - the girl with a bee-stung lip was not engaging, nor was the deadpan brother - and
3) confused when it came to Jim Carrey. Is it possible to be both cruel and at the same time off-the-wall comical?
The coolest part of the movie was the animated sequence that accompanied the credits. The credit music was sweetly percussive and global.
The predictable Big CGI Blast came with the destruction of the house on a cliff over Lake Lachrymose. Twas impressive. But the cataclysm was academic since the characters weren't emotionally engaging. One more disappointment: the vaunted meryl Streep flailed about like a rookie.
The show has style, but I think it tried too hard. I'm tired of funky British esoterica such as brass and glass antiques; this movie acted as though it was all new and irresistably precious.
Industrial Light & Magic's Stefen Fangmeier, Lemony designer, says on VFXTalk.com, "“For me the key was to understand the level of reality necessary. It wasn’t the ultimate goal to create an absolutely real look but something that had some flair. The whole film has a theatrical feel to it. It is sort of a `non-period’ period film that’s got its own aesthetic. I call it `Fellini for the family.’”
Too bad the characters had so little charisma, Stefen.
An alternative? "The Incredibles" is a tour de force of moviemaking, if not as soulful as "Toy Story" or "Bug's Life."