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The film comes under a mix of genres of adventure and noir comedy. The story is told in a simple and unrestricted narrative. Director Brad Silberling uses an animated non-diegetic insert (sequence) at the beginning of the film as a humorous device to add strengths to the misfortune of the key characters in the story. A story telling framework of narrative is adopted, in which an on-screen narrator, Lemony Snicket (voice of Jude Law), in black silhouette reports the story to the audience, thereby giving a relatively more objective outlook of the events. The diegesis is compiled by linking up 3 related "adventures" of the children of the Baudelaire family, namely, Violet (Emily Browning), Klaus (Liam Aiken) and Sunny (Kara and Shelby Hoffman).
The theme of "never giving up" and "possibilism" is embedded in the vocal motif "there are always things" in the film and is further explicitly stated (as read by Violet) in the letter from the children's parents in the denouement. It is a parable and a good educational material to exemplify to children and teenagers that one should not give up in front of difficulties and villains will eventually be castigated in a way they badly treated others.
The children's staging is not as good as that of the kids (now teenagers) in the Harry Potter series (admitting the limitations of the personality of the story's characters). Unlike its counterpart, the Harry Potter sequels, suspense is weak in the story and there is no surprise at all. Some audience may be fed up with Jim Carrey (as Count Olaf)'s repeated comically dramatic staging, facial exaggeration in particular. It seems that Carrey cannot cast off the image of character actor despite his refreshed performance in "Eternal Sunshine in the Spotless Mind" (Dir: Michel Gondry, 2004).
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