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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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TO BE ADDED (2004), PG [PG*]
Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
December 16, 2004
79 out of 100

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Christian Long Distance

(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.


(2004), PG [PG*] -- ...though I have not read any of Handler's books, it all felt as one work.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Nickelodeon Movies, Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, Scott Rudin Productions
Distribution (US): Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Distribution LLC, Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Brad Silberling
Producer(s): Scott Aversano, Minor Childers, Albie Hecht, Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes, Julia Pistor, Scott Rudin, Barry Sonnenfeld, Jim Van Wyck
Written by: Daniel Handler (books The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, and The Wide Window)
Screenplay: Robert Gordon
Cinematography/Camera: Emmanuel Lubezki
Music: Thomas Newman
Film Editing: Dylan Tichenor
Casting: Avy Kaufman
Production Design: Rick Heinrichs
Art Direction: John Dexter, Martin Whist
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Jim Carrey is the evil Count Olaf, Jim Carrey is an Italian scientist and Jim Carrey is a crusty old sea captain with a wooden leg in this big screen adaptation of three of Daniel Handler's eleven wildly successful Lemony Snicket books: "The Bad Beginning", "The Reptile Room", and "The Wide Window." I even heard a couple young adults waiting to view the screening with me that they were looking forward to the film because they had read the books as a child. Onscreen seams between books was rather smooth because, though I have not read any of Handler's books, it all felt as one work.

Fourteen year old inventor Violet Baudelaire (Emily Browning) and her avid reader brother of the same age stratum, Klaus (Liam Aiken) and witty toddler sister Sunny (twins Kara and Shelby Hoffman) lose their their stately upper-class Victorian home to a fire. They are also told their parents are dead. Their home destroyed, their parents killed, the Baudelaire kids are left with nothing but money, bank official Mr. Poe (Timothy Spall) sees to the security of the children by placing them in the care of their nearest relative Count Olaf, actor and opportunist extraordinaire. The likelihood of getting his hands on the Baudelaire fortune had nothing to do with his wishes to provide for the children, of course.

Though this film presents a tale of survival, ingenuity and courage of children, I read one secular review of this film By Robert Denerstein who reported he was told that Lemony Snicket books are very popular with the kids " part because they share some of the same dark impulses that filter through the Harry Potter novels." You can believe it. While five of the six CAP investigation areas (Impudence/Hate, Sexual Immorality/ Drugs/Alcohol, Offense to God, Murder/Suicide) each found programming equivalent to G or PG-rated films in the comparative baseline database, the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area (which includes horror, peril, etc.) found programming equivalent in magnitude rather than severity to some R-rated films.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is not a bright and crisp film but is somewhat dark and sinister throughout. In a cartoon prologue "The Littlest Elf" even Jude Law, who plays Snicket and narrates the film, warns attendees that if they do not like dark tales of loss and peril to children to go to another screen immediately.

Some comic relief is provided by clever use of Sunny being a toddler. With subtitles, Sunny speaks to the audience, often with adult projection in her words. Indeed, in one case she speaks of an adult in a clearly foul way, thanks to the writers. But real comedy was provided at least once since Sunny is a biter and she clamps on to the edge of a table. Her biting talents are actually used in the plot.

A couple other characters who became involved in the care of the Bauderlaire children was Uncle Montgomery Montgomery (Billy Connolly) who seemed to have the most earnest concern for the children. It was Uncle Monty who was victimized by Count Olaf who posed as the Italian scientist to lure the kids away from him.

Also in temporary care of the kids was Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep) who was, in essence, afraid that snowflakes could have evil effect on the victim of them. Aunt Josephine was "wooed" by Count Olaf posing as the crusty sea captain, also to lure the kids away. Olaf was persistent, to be sure. He wanted badly the Baudelaire fortune.

Though never involved with the care of the kids, Dustin Hoffman appeared as a critic of Olaf's stage production. The stage production was of a wedding between Olaf and Violet to secure the Baudelaire fortune. Knowing a stage play would never be a legitimate marriage, Olaf had Justice Strauss (Catherine O'Hara) play the part of the Justice of the Peace so the stage marriage would be legal.

Though I have "spoiled" the film a little, there is much more to it. Part of the "much more to it" is the level of violence and violent acts in this PG film. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will reveal all that were noted but a few of them included locking children in a bedroom, an adult violently slapping an adolescent, a threat to kill the children, disaster peril for children of hurricane proportions, use of children to extort unwelcome deeds and imprisoning Sunny in a cage high above the ground with a threat to drop it if Violet did not marry Olaf. [Matt. 18:10, Luke 17:2]

Other non-violence matters include Sunny, through subtitles, speaking a very crude expression which refers to oral sex [Eph. 5:4], unseen murders [a], arson for gain [Hab. 2:9] and lies [Rev. 21:8]. Only one use to the three/four letter word vocabulary and one use of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive were found. A theme of seeking of ill-gotten gain permeated the plot [Ps. 62:10].

Please inspect the listing in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide whether to take your little one to see this "adult-flavored" PG.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. ["Despise" is kataphroneo {kat-af-ron-eh'-o}: 1) to condemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of, to look down upon (which includes abuse, even by influence)]
  • (a) God speaks very darkly many times of murder and the [unforgiven] murderer.
  • Hab. 2:9 Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] ... and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Ps. 62:10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)


    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • locking children in bedroom
  • adult slap of a child
  • threat to kill children
  • animal attack - snake
  • knife threat of children
  • disaster peril with children
  • using children to extort fortune, repeatedly
  • animal attack - leeches
  • assault of a child
  • imprisonment of a toddler in a cage dangling many feet in the air with threat to kill to extort performance of its sister
  • action perils involving children
  • blade/hook attack to kill a child

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • lies, repeatedly
  • deceit, repeatedly
  • two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, once by a toddler in caption
  • abuse of adult authority
  • leaving woman to die

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • a toddler caption speaking a minimized phrase of oral sex

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)
  • seeking ill-gotten gain, repeatedly
  • one use of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • talk of suicide as a resolution to problems
  • three unseen murders, two by arson.

  • Christian Long Distance



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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