Movies In My Collection #173: The OA & Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events

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As I said at the beginning of the year, I’m going to use the Movies In My Collection posts to look at recent Netflix shows mostly because they can technically be considered part of a collection and I need a place to showcase some of the Netflix shows now and coming soon. In the coming months, look forward to my reviews for upcoming Netflix shows such as Santa Clarita Diet, 13 Reasons Why, along with upcoming films such as Girlfriend’s Day and we’ll also use this to cover recent stuff like the One Day At A Time reboot which has been getting some pretty good word of mouth and also upcoming seasons of Stranger Things, House Of Cards, and Orange Is The New Black.

So, let’s begin with The OA:

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The OA is an American mystery drama web television series with science fiction, supernatural, and fantasy elements, which debuted on Netflix on December 16, 2016. Created and executive produced by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, the series is their third collaboration. The series consists of eight episodes, all directed by Batmanglij, and is produced by Plan B Entertainment and Anonymous Content. In the series, Marling stars as a young woman named Prairie Johnson who resurfaces after having been missing for seven years. Prairie now calls herself “The OA” and can see, despite having been blind before her disappearance.

The OA received generally favorable critical reception, although reviews ranged from highly positive to highly negative, with several reviewers drawing both favorable and unfavorable comparisons with Stranger Things, another science fiction series that debuted on Netflix earlier in the year.

The series centers on Prairie Johnson, an adopted young woman who resurfaces after having been missing for seven years. Upon her return, Johnson calls herself “The OA”, exhibits scars on her back, and can see, despite having been blind when she disappeared. The OA refuses to tell the FBI and her adoptive parents where she has been and how her eyesight was restored, and instead quickly assembles a team of five locals to whom she reveals that information, also explaining her background story. Finally, she asks for their help to save some other missing people who she claims are currently in the same situation she has described to them.

Wow, there’s a lot here taken from a ton of different shows and movies now isn’t there, there’s elements of Blindspot, there’s elements of Flight Of The Navigator, that terrible The Family show from last year, a little bit of that movie, Seven Pounds, where Will Smith is looking for information for seven people trying to help them out and Stranger Things, I mean, this plot is not original by any means whatsoever.

But hey, that can’t mean the show is bad, can it?

Well….how do I put this? You know how we had Live By Night recently, a movie that looks visually impressive but has a heavily flawed story and no interesting elements to it? Imagine that in TV form, my god, this show is trying so hard to be something special but it just can’t find a link to make it work.

This series was co-created by Brit Marling, somebody who I know is trying, she can be a really talented actress as well as a writer, producer, and director, I watched a couple of her movies Another Earth, I Origins, Sound Of My Voice, The East, these were really good movies that not a lot of people really didn’t give much appreciation to but it proves her talent as a filmmaker.

But here, wow, this does not work at all. I mean, it’s bad enough when you steal elements from other shows and movies but it’s worse when you do absolutely nothing to make it exciting or enticing at all. There’s nothing about this that works, it’s a bore, you never feel like you can get any enjoyment out of this at all. Eight episodes is all this first season is and I watched all eight episodes trying to give it a chance and by the end, I really did feel like I gained nothing from it and it was over 8 hours of my life just wasted on absolutely nothing.

The actors are clearly trying to get some leverage here but overall, nobody really came out strong in this.

The OA is nothing but a big waste of time, the visuals are nice, yes, and you can tell that the actors are trying to work with the material but the scripts and the execution is nothing, it’s a bore, the whole show is a bore and there is nothing of noteworthiness to watch in this, you’re better off just skipping this one.

With that said, we now look at Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events:

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Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, or simply A Series of Unfortunate Events, is an American black-comedy drama television series from Netflix, and developed by Mark Hudis and Barry Sonnenfeld, based on the children’s novel series of the same name by Lemony Snicket. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, K. Todd Freeman and Presley Smith, and premiered on January 13, 2017.

The first season consists of eight episodes and adapts the first four books of the series. A Series of Unfortunate Events was renewed for a second season, which is planned to consist of ten episodes that adapt books five through nine of the novel series, and a third season is expected to adapt the remaining four books.

When a mysterious fire kills their parents, the Baudelaire children are placed into the care of their distant relative Count Olaf, an actor who is determined to claim the family fortune for himself. Following Olaf’s failed attempt, the Baudelaires set out to elude Olaf and uncover the mystery behind a secret society from their parents’ past.

Honestly, if you saw the original A Series Of Unfortunate Events movie from 2004, you basically get what you saw in that movie but with higher quality and more to it.

The original 2004 movie covered the first three novels while this show covers the first four novels in 2 part episodes. And there is a lot of similarities to the 2004 movie and this show, most good.

For one thing, I think Neil Patrick Harris made for a much better Count Olaf than Jim Carrey did although Carrey was not bad as Olaf. Patrick Warburton as the narrator is a HUGE improvement over Jude Law, Warburton just makes that narration much better than what Jude Law does, in the movie, Law was basically just being Jude Law trying to sound melodramatic, Warburton just makes it work much better.

The two kids in this, played by Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes, were much better actors in this than Emily Browning and Liam Aiken were. In fact, a lot of the actors in here were much better than in the movie.

The visual look in this series fits more in tune to what you’d expect from a live-action adaptation of this story. With the 2004 movie, it had those darker colors and visuals to it but too many of those lighter scenes.

The scripting for the show works a lot better than the movie did, mostly because you had the books’¬†writer Daniel Handler writing a good majority of the series so it sticks more to the intention of the books.

There’s a lot to admire here, this is a more fun, more enjoyable and more hilarious version of A Series Of Unfortunate Events than the film was. It does actually make me want to see what else this series has to offer in the future and is well worth the watch.

MOVIES MENTIONED IN THIS POST

The OA

Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events

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