Friday, July 01, 2005

The Ominous Omnibus

Despite the fact that I’m well past my childhood, I have a certain fondness for children’s literature. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books and all of Brian Jacques’ Redwall books (which I actually like better than Harry). Influenced largely by the movie Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, I decided to delve into the world of the Baudelaire orphans.

I began by picking up a copy of the Ominus Omnibus, which contains the first three books in the series: The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, and The Wide Window. The book it self is actually a pretty good value; It has a cover price of $19.99, which is pretty cheap for a hardcover, especially a great big, thick one. I got mine at K-Mart for $14.99, which is an even better deal.

As is usual for me, I found that I liked the books better than the movie. There were quite a few parts of the movie that made absolutely no sense at all, such as handing the orphans back to Count Olaf after he’s already tried to kill them and has murdered Dr. Montgomery and the parents and both guardian being part of a crime fighting squad that was investigating Olaf’s doings. Neither of these things happen in the book.

There are also elements in the books that make it more interesting to me than the movie. Olaf is far more evil. In the movie, he seems to be a comic villain, almost verging on some sort of bumbling mad-scientist/super-villain. In the books, he is evil incarnate, and extremely cunning. Also in the books, but not really in the movie, are Olaf’s minions. They do make a brief appearance in the move, when they show up for dinner and help with the play, but they have much larger part in the books.

There is only one thing I don’t like about the books: the language. It’s a bit more simplistic than I’m used to, even for a children’s series. Still, it doesn’t detract too much, and actually provides some of the humor when Snicket defines the big words for the kiddies. Over all, I’ll give it 4 yo-yos.

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