Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (d. Tim Burton USA/UK/Belgium 2016)

Please read On Reviews for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis at the bottom for any who wish to see one.

Entertainment: starfish starfish starfish starfish 

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Tim Burton. His name is a short hand to strange stylistic and sometimes slightly dark imagery. This makes sense when one of his first major films was Beetlejuice (d. Burton USA 1988) and he’s also famous for The Nightmare Before Christmas (d. Henry Selick USA 1993). Unfortunately, these films were quite a long time ago and his most recent films were adaptations and sometimes horrific ones like Alice in Wonderland (d. Burton USA 2010) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (d. Burton USA/UK/Australia 2005). Today Superhero films are huge, and one huge franchise in this genre is X-Men and another being The Avengers (d. Joss Whedon USA 2012). So the time is just right for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (d. Burton USA/UK/Belgium 2016). Though, again, this is another adaptation for Tim Burton. However, say what you like about his most recent works, they have been imaginative. It’s why his name has become so vibrant and marketable in the first place. With him it is almost acceptable that his films lose a lot in story and character – almost. Unfortunately, I haven’t read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (a. Ransom Riggs Quirk Books 2011)and can’t comment on the films faithfulness – it’s probably worth a read.

Tim Burton’s version sports an ensemble cast with many young actors in some very pivotal roles and this can be a very difficult point for many films. Generally, the characters are whimsical and enchanting with their sheer differences affecting their personalities in ways that keeps you invested. It becomes a film about the various different moments – the odd things they can share with us. This really makes for an entertaining and investing cinema experience. However, unfortunately Samuel L. Jackson‘s character and his group of monsters aren’t very threatening and don’t posit much of an obstacle. They just kind of exist, they’re mildly diabolical and far from threatening. Perhaps this was mindful of a target audience but it provides very little conflict for the characters to overcome. SPOILERS. Perhaps better said, you’re invested in what the lead characters are doing in their race against time but not in their fights with the creatures. It’s a question of how they interact with each other and not the antagonist. END OF SPOILERS.

Technically, there is a lot to be said for this film. The stop motion sequences are unsurprisingly brilliant and something out of a Quay Brothers film. Another odd blemish for the film would be the CGI used for the monsters that felt quite painted and obvious and not trying to be real – maybe the point but with sequences where character float, lift and go underwater with such great realism – it feels strange. The story had good turns but also predictable ones, running from a fairly simple formula that may just be with its target audience in mind and therefore can’t be criticised too much -though a consideration.

This was actually a good film with imaginative and somewhat daring sequences to compliment the characters and draw you in. Though I can’t talk about the film as an adaptation, as a film it’s a great family film looking to open you to a world for the off beat child. In essence this was a very Tim Burton film, but at the same time it wasn’t too stylistically Tim Burton. This makes for a very interesting film for his work and also shows something a bit more refreshing.

Synopsis
After Jake’s (Asa Butterfield) grandfather passes, he looks a little deeper into his bedtime stories and the possibility of peculiar children existing, as well as what it was that made them so special to his grandfather.

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Interview with Tim burton

Interview with Eva Green

Interview with Asa Butterfield

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Tim Burton’s Disney



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