I went in with rock-bottom expectations, simply because I didn't think it was going to be possible to do the books justice. And the film certainly isn't book-level; a lot less funny, for a start. They seemed to want Jim Carrey to make Olaf funny to make up for it, but he was exactly the Count Olaf I thought he'd be, annoying and over the top but not quite bad enough that it ruined the whole film. And they made it a whole lot sappier than I'd've liked- even though I appalled one friend I was with; when I said that it was "way too happy", she immediately went "OK, so these are books to induce terminal depression, then?" So maybe it's just my major aversion to sap, but I couldn't imagine book Lemony saying that stuff about how they'd always have the ability to make their own sanctuary and stuff.
Other than that, though, it was awesome. Jude Law... eep. If I didn't already love Lemony! That was inspired. The voice! I'm going to be hearing the books in his voice from now on, and I love him so much just for that. I lovedlovedloved how they handled his role as narrator - the type writer getting jammed! The sillouettedness! So much eeeeeee for that. The acting was better than I expected too, the kids included, while the sets and music were fantastic, so I didn't mind most of the changes they made from canon. Even Sunny speaking more colloquially than she does in the books didn't bother me; mostly because I felt reassured in other ways that they had at least actually read the books. The eye on Olaf's door made me squeal. :D And OMG they had the White Faced Women and everything. I'm glad I saw it if only for the opportunity to squee whenever a book reference was made. (Current favourite: "Why are none of our relatives actually related to us?" bwah!!)
I was curious, though, as to how much input Daniel Handler had on the whole thing. There was quite a lot of stuff that they seemed to have jumped the gun on, things that in canon are hazy which they made explicit. Olaf burning the Baudelaire house for one, and the relatives being VFDers for another. (I totally think Monty was one, but Aunt Josephine?) Does anyone have any info on that? I'd be surprised if they're far wrong, but I am pondering whether the inclusion of the spyglasses and the Eye key are actually hints as to future things. Because that would be cool. :)