This week I went to go see Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children the new movie directed by Tim Burton. If I’m going to be completely honest, the last movie of Tim Burton’s I 100% liked was The Nightmare Before Christmas and that was only produced by Tim Burton. I still hold out hope, though, that something will come close to rivaling it, but Miss Peregrine was not that film. Which is not to say I didn’t like it. I probably liked Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children much more than it deserves.
When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that stretches across time, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the danger deepens after he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.
This film was beautiful to watch and that was mostly due to the sets. The actual building for the titular Home for Peculiar Children was beautiful, huge and stately and filled with expensive and beautiful furniture. It’s even beautiful when it’s all burned out, full of broken walls and plants. I also loved the ‘Hollows’, hulking spider-like monstrosities with teeth and tentacles; they were wonderful. Overall, Miss Peregrine was a bit toned down compared to Alice in Wonderland but it’s definitely got Tim Burton’s recognisable style.
This time Mr. Burton’s casting was a bit strange. The normal role reserved for Johnny Depp went, instead, to the fabulous Eva Green and the normal role for Helena Bonham Carter went instead to Ella Purnell. Maybe that’s just my imagination. Also it was weird having Samuel L. Jackson in the villain role again – I kept thinking of Kingsman. Still, there wasn’t a weak performance in the bunch. I enjoyed Chris O’Dowd as the main character Jake’s father and Terence Stamp as Jake’s grandfather. And the actor that played Jake himself, Asa Butterfield was excellent. I also want to mention how wonderful all the Peculiar Children were, all cute and creepy and quirky.
Seeing all this work makes me really want to read the book this film was based on because I’m guessing something might have been missed in translation. This film made no sense in so many ways and there were dozens of examples of ‘Fridge Logic’ (the stuff you think of half an hour after the movie is over and you’re staring into the fridge while getting food). Character motivations were often horribly contrived (or entirely missing) even as their actions drove the plot forward. Characters had powers that they forgot to use at key moments. Things established at an important scene would have made part of the premise unfeasible. And don’t even get me started on time travel. Even the small amount that there was in here turned logic into soup.
But even though it was ridiculous from a logistics perspective, it was still absolutely full of one-off moments. My favorites were mostly involved with Miss Peregrine and her uncanny knack of timing but each character had some wonderful demonstrations of their abilities and their eccentricities. You can see a lot of these on the trailer but the best ones were still kept for the film itself.
So is Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children worth watching? Yes, I definitely think so. It’s a little scary for young children, it’s a little slow getting started, it’s too long (127 minutes) it’s a bit…..twee….in places, but it’s still a good time. I probably won’t see the film again, but I’m going to check out the book.