Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was tailor-made for Tim Burton; it’s got just the right mix of charming, creepy, and odd, and he did a fantastic job bringing these characters to life.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is the story of Jake (Asa Butterfield), who nearly witnesses his grandfather’s brutal attack. As his grandfather lays dying, he makes Jake promise to “follow the postcard” and that “the bird will explain everything”. On the recommendation of his psychiatrist (Allison Janney), he and his father (Chris O’Dowd) travel to the small island off the coast of Wales where his grandfather grew up. There Jake meets Emma and the rest of the Peculiars, who are stuck in a time loop: in order to protect them from the monstrous Hollowgasts, they are forever reliving September 3rd, 1943.
Asa Butterfield is much less creepy as a teenager than he was as a child (no, seriously, his Mordred terrifies me), and is delightfully endearing as Jake. Eva Green sparkles as Miss Peregrine; unfortunately, although the book bears her name, she isn’t featured very much…which is sad because she is fantastic.
On the other hand, I both enjoyed and was bothered by Samuel L. Jackson’s villainous Barron; Jackson is an extremely talented actor, but I feel like his Barron altered the overall tone of the film, and not necessarily in a good way. He managed to be both creepy and humorous, and though the movie had its lighter moments, I don’t think the villain should be one of them.
The set design might fool you, as the children’s home was beautiful but staggeringly normal-looking. However, the character design will tip you off that this is a Tim Burton film. The Hollowgasts in particular are borderline frightening, and they reminded me a lot of some of the creatures from Burton’s infamous film Beetlejuice.
This is one of those rare times where I wasn’t constantly comparing the film to the book on which it’s based. I did have those “That wasn’t in the book,” moments, but it wasn’t quite the death knell it usually is for me. Without revealing too many spoilers, the movie’s story continues for a while after the book’s story ends. (At least the first book’s story – I’ll admit with my head held in shame that I’ve yet to read the rest of the trilogy.) I suppose it’s possible that if this movie does well enough they could continue, but there is a finality to the ending that will leave people satisfied should it remain a standalone.
In short, I highly enjoyed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and recommend that you all go see it. It is sweet and entertaining…and, like I said, sometimes creepy.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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