I didn’t know what to expect from this movie. I remember seeing the commercials when it was first in theaters, and the hype about Jim Carrey’s makeup and characters. I think I may have vaguely mentioned wanting to see it, you know, in passing. But I forgot about it until ages later, when the Twilight phenom was being cast and everyone’s Dream Team choice for Bella was Emily Browning. I finally put it on my Netflix queue a few weeks ago and I’m really glad I did.
This movie has all of the staples of a fairy tale, in the narration, the over-dramatized characters, the unlikely events that leave our heroes in need of saving, the heroes discovering they have the talent to save themselves all along… etc. But it veers from that fairytale cliche by turning everything on its head and making it dark, dreary, hysterical and unexpected.
For starter’s though I don’t think Jude Law’s narration was necessary, I rather enjoyed it. It was witty, charming, and gave it that storybook feel. The children were perfectly cast. Smart, attractive, and sympathetic, which was obviously very important as you went on. I didn’t think they would be at first- I mean, ok, so you have these rich kids who are smart and talented and gorgeous and I’m supposed to feel bad, why? But as the movie went on, well things were just pretty much disastrous, and I did find myself cheering for them. The baby was possibly my favorite character of all. The subtitles used to translate her baby talk had me laughing out loud, meanwhile, her introductory vignette was just too hysterical.
Though the movie wasn’t fantasy in itself, it did have an air of the fantastical. The children’s talents seemed surreal at times, the world felt cartoonish, especially the leeches, and I think it was lit and costumed to feel just a tad unreal… bookish, really. I didn’t mind any of those things. They were really part of the story’s overall charm. I just feel in the end, I didn’t really get a full answer to the mystery of the parents’ death and the whole telescope thing confused me. But overall, I really enjoyed it. Rating: B+