PG-13 | 2h 7min | Adventure, Fantasy
Review - Matt Mungle
*In theaters September 30th 2016 *
Synopsis: When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.
Review: At first watch you will wish you would have read the book series before seeing Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. But fans of Ransom Riggs' novels will quickly tell you that this film strays so far that very little is recognizable. Sure you can just sit back and enjoy the signature styling of director Tim Burton, which is enjoyment enough, but if you want to have any idea what is going on you will need some fore knowledge.
For those who have not read the book the story (at least in the movie script) is about Jake (Asa Butterfield) who is dealing with the mysterious death of his grandfather (Terence Stamp). Since Jake was a wee lad his grandfather has told him stories of a wonderful home full of peculiar children. Now Jake must find this place in order to figure out exactly what happened to his grandfather and who is responsible.
Tim Burton is a master at creating whimsical other worlds. No one can come close to his style and depiction of oddity. So the film looks fantastic. You want to freeze certain frames just to take in all the detail of the surroundings. The children are creepy to say the least and their haunting look will linger with you long after viewing. But sadly imagery isn't enough and those unfamiliar with the characters have little more than outward appearance to appreciate.
While watching the film you get the feeling that Butterfield is also not on board with the character. Asa is a better actor than what we see here. He stumbles his way through the dialogue with no grounding or conviction. Once he arrives at the home we get a very fast introduction to the children and their peculiarity but with no depth. This causes you to lose interest in their well being and once the peril begins you sort of lose interest. Yes the scary things are scary (nightmarishly scary) but we do not know where they came from or what their agenda is. Other than a fast narrative about the Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) and his need for immortality you get nothing concrete
If any person stands out in this it is Miss Peregrine (Eva Green). Her dark demeanor and piercing eyes make for a memorable character. Her speech and movements demand respect. She takes her responsibility serious and has dedicated her service to these younglings. Trust me you do not want to get in her cross hairs. But she is alone in this accolade. The rest of the talented cast (Jackson, Judi Dench, Chris O'Dowd) are wasted on a horrible script and thin veil of intrigue.
Imagine if the entire Harry Potter series were one movie. Now that I have your attention take note that two plus hours is not enough to cram everything in for this. Fans of the book will feel cheated of their favorite parts and find they are replaced by random story lines not even in the books. That is inexcusable.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and peril. I would caution parents about letting younger kids see this. The imagery and characters are creepy. The peril is intense and left me spooked. I only give it 2 out of 5 contact lenses. I am mostly saddened for young fans of the book series who deserved a better film. The rest of us get even less.