So I first read the beginning of the ASOUE books when I was young, but didn’t finish them originally. Then a few years ago, I read them again and was utterly perplexed by the ending.
But I LOVED the film. I know it had it’s flaws, but I thought the casting of Jim Carrey as Olaf was perfect, the Baudelaire children were so good too, and although they changed the order of the plot events, I just enjoyed watching it.
That’s not to say I wasn’t the most excited about a new adaptation of the books. I was desperate for another film after the one that covered the first three books, but I had faith that a Netflix production would go much further in depth in the books and make the most of the story line that the film could not. I was skeptical about Neil Patrick Harris playing Olaf, not because I don’t think that NPH is a great actor, but purely because Jim Carrey was the perfect casting choice in my eyes.
Then the trailer came out and I was even more excited. It looked like they had taken the aspect of the book in which there is no specific time point – some aspects seem really old, and some quite modern, and they are all blended together in a way that makes sense in the books. And I was excited to see how they would do this on screen.
I also want to add that I started rereading the book again in preparation for the TV series, and on finding out that the first season (8 episodes) would cover the first four books, that’s all I read before delving in.
And I was no disappointed. From now on, there will be SPOILERS about the Netflix adaptation of ASOUE so if you haven’t already watched it, GO AHEAD!! I highly recommend it.
So, firstly – the casting. I think NPH actually did a great job of portraying Count Olaf. I still had Jim Carrey’s version in the back of my mind while watching it, but considering how skeptical I was about NPH, I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed his performance. Also, the Baudelaires were amazing too! Brilliant performances, especially with the portrayal of siblings. The rest of the cast were just as good, but I really loved how much more diverse this cast was, especially compared to the film.
In terms of plot and sticking to the books, I thought they did a really good job. I loved the sugar bowl reference in episode 2, and everything relating back to VFD and all the confusing stuff that comes later in the books (that I can’t remember fully right now, cause I haven’t reread those ones yet). It really seems like the creators have plans for upcoming series and are building the series up so everything comes together once they reach the end of the books.
Patrick Warburtons addition as Lemony Snicket was perfect, and although I never imagined him being there, he really added to the plot and the tone of the show. Olaf’s costumes and disguises were always on point, the music was great, the opening sequence was in keeping with the theme, and it was also funny in all the right places, while also staying true to the real emotions of children who have just lost everything and be put through hell by Count Olaf.
The main difference was how much the children knew, in terms of what happened to their parents and about the secret organisation. I’m loving how everything is much more connected and this is a much bigger part of the story line than in the books. In the show, the children take it upon themselves to leave Lake Lachrymose and head to the Lucky Smells Lumber Mill to investigate further instead of being placed there by Poe. These are small differences that don’t take away from the adaption being a really good reflection of the books, but instead I think they’ll only add to it being incredibly addictive with a rewarding ending.
Can we just mention the parents though?? Or at least, the parents who you thought were going to be their parents but in actual fact just aren’t. Way to build me up then then knock me down.
Overall, I loved this first series, and am desperate to hear that there’ll be more. I’d love to see how they’ll bring it all together and wrap it up, and I’m going to tear through the rest of the books now!