There was a lot of hype around the release of “Series of Unfortunate Events” to Netflix. The beloved book series, “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, has seen adaptation before with serious acting talent attached to it with Meryl Streep, Bill Connolly, and Jim Carey as the evil Count Olaf. I loved the film. I thought Jim Carey’s Count Olaf was one of his best performances in years with the right balance of goofiness and malevolence, Jim Carey brought the standard to which any one will inevitably be compared to if the role should ever be revisited.
So naturally I was excited when it was announced that Netflix would make it a series. The acting was ok overall. The set design fit the ambiance of the story. The only thing that didn’t fit was Count Olaf.
As much as I love Neil Patrick Harris, I really don’t think he was a fit for the role, his performance was rather underwhelming. His line delivery was awkward rather than sinister or humorous. Emphasizing lines that seemed to have no point or to the point of pointlessness. He brought almost no charisma to the role. I don’t mean he wasn’t trying, but it seemed he was trying too hard. It came off as him trying to mask his naturally boyish features rather than embody a character. There wasn’t much to keep my attention. I rarely if ever laughed at what he did. Most of the time I was bored.
It doesn’t help that there was just poor direction. It seemed to me the director relied on the impact of the set design and CGI rather than making right editing and camera placement choices. The two notable CGI scenes were distracting. When the children were playing on the beach a giant robot arm stretched to a ridiculous length and then retracted. Is that ever going to come into play again? Is this going to set a precedent? If so why can’t the children just open a box and two robot arms clean, cook and solve all their problems? The other CGI scene was supposed to be the revealing shot of Count Olaf. It followed a CGI bird to being eaten by a CGI raven to look at the grimacing face of Count Olaf on the top of his mansion. Not a bad idea in theory. On screen however it came off as hokey. I found myself questioning most of the shot choices. They just didn’t seem to work.
Count Olaf is the most dynamic character in the story. If his performance isn’t executed well the whole thing falls apart. Even though this is only the first episode in the series. I wasn’t very impressed. I’m not really sure if I’ll give the other episodes a try.