NITPIX Earlier this week Netflix Released A Series Of Unfortunate Events A television series based on the books of the same name by Lemony Snicket Many of us will remember the Dreamworks/Nickelodeon film that came out 13 years ago, I thought it would be fun to make a video comparing the two adaptations On a surface level, they seem quite similar in their design and take on the characters But which one is better? This video will contain spoilers for both the show and the film and I should also say, I will not be looking at the books for this comparison I’m not questioning which is the better adaptation here. If something is a better adaptation of the books, that doesn’t necessarily make it always better. The film combines the first three books into ninety minutes Roughly spending 30 minutes on each book. This is the equivalent of shoving the first three harry potter books into one film. And as you can imagine, this is a huge problem. The children are with Olaf for 15 minutes Then they are with Monty for 15 minutes Then he’s dead 5 minutes later they’re with Aunt Josephine 15 minutes later she’s dead 5 minutes later she’s alive Ten minutes later she’s dead 5 minutes later they’re back with Olaf If you watch the film after the show, you might be feeling as if you’re re-watching the show on fast-forward. It’s difficult to feel sad after a guardian dies if you’ve only had a few scenes with them. The TV show spends around 90 minutes per book. Giving the show three times longer than the film gets. The show suffers from opposite problem Moving incredibly slowly. Stopping the plot frequently for humour. In the show, after Josephine supposedly kills herself The children call Poe he investigates the note They check if it’s a forgery They argue a little Then they go to the restaurant and talk with Captain Sham The children deliberately give themselves allergies To go back to the house And then they discover the secret message In the film, they find the note, immediately figure out somethings wrong and decipher the code Not only is the action in the restaurant completely pointless to the plot. The version of events that take place in the film make Klaus seem way more intelligent. TONE The biggest difference between the two versions is tone. The Netflix Series Is similar to Wes Anderson in tone, feeling cartoony and surreal. Though the film is made by Dreamworks and Nickelodeon It’s actually darker and the world the film inhabits is based more in reality. A great example of this is how Count Olaf’s Theatre Troop is introduced to the audience. In the TV show, we are introduced with a bold comedic music number. ♫ It’s the Count ♫
♫ It’s the Count ♫ ♫ It’s the Count ♫
♫ It’s the Count♫ Whereas, this is how we’re introduced in the film. Olaf: Orphans. Olaf: This is my acting troop. Olaf: Acting troop, orphans. White Faced Woman: They don’t look rich. *Acting troop laugh* The show doesn’t take itself seriously at all. With Olaf constantly breaking the 4th wall. Olaf: In all honesty, I prefer long-form television to the movies. Olaf: It’s so much more convenient to consume entertainment from the comfort of your home. It focusses on humour above all and doesn’t try to have emotional depth. The film is much more subtle. More dramatic. It does have it’s share of silliness, but everything is much more stripped down CHARACTERS Snicket: If you have ever lost somebody very important to you, then you already know how it feels. Snicket: And if you haven’t, you cannot possibly imagine it. Snicket: If you have ever lost somebody very important to you, then you already know how it feels. Snicket: And if you haven’t, you cannot possibly imagine it. Lemony Snicket Is the narrator is both versions In the film he’s played by Jude Law He’s a shadowy figure sat by a typewriter, we never see his face, he’s just a mysterious voice. In the show he’s played by Patrick Warburton and appears in the foreground like Rhod Serling from the Twilight Zone. We see a lot more of Warburton in the show, he has some great jokes and set pieces. Olaf: And I’m afraid I may have acted a bit stand-offish Snicket: The word stand-offish is a wonderful one, but it does not describe Count Olaf’s behaviour to the children. Whenever we get the Snicket in the film, it is usually to prolong the tension. Snicket: Oh, I’m sorry. Snicket: My ribbon just jammed. Both versions of Count Olaf are again played by great actors Neil Patrick Harris in the show and Jim Carrey in the movie. Olaf: I realise that my humble abode isn’t as fancy as the Baudelaire mansion Olaf: Well I realise it’s not as fancy as the Baudelaire mansion The main difference is Carrey’s Olaf seems to be kinder on the surface. Hiding his malevolence. In the film, when he hits Klaus he tries to hide it among his theatre troop – knowing it might get him into trouble. Olaf: You all saw it. Olaf: The boy slipped. In the show he openly does it and doesn’t care about hiding it. Carrey’s version seems to be more intelligent and Olaf is a much better actor. Carrey’s Stefano is hilarious at times. Olaf: But the little udders, are hard to locate. But he can so easily switch to being a threat. Olaf: Do you have a hall pass? Neil Patrick Harris isn’t quite able to do that. Olaf: I seem to recall a man named Stefano being so confused by being called ‘Count Olaf’ that he accidentally dropped his knife on one of her little feet and severed one of her toes. In the show the children go through all the evidence explaining why Stefano killed Monty and how he is secretly Olaf in disguise. When Olaf and his henchmen could have easily just killed Poe and stolen the children during the entire speech. In the film as soon as Poe sees Sunny with the snake, Olaf disappears ominously. This version is more creepy.