Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Judi Dench, Chris O’Dowd.
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. (Source: IMDb)
Tim Burton movies have a visual style so distinctive that you can’t quite often spot one from a mile away; just look out for film-noir nods, lots of black and white stripes, weird and wacky monsters and a Danny Elfman score.
His latest offering, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children might be sans Elfman score surprisingly, but it pretty much ticks all the other Burton boxes you want, meaning absolute die-hard fans should be satisfied.
Miss Peregrine’s is far from his best (we’ll get to that later!), but neither is it his worst film; no need to worry Planet of the Apes, you still hold that title.
What it does well, it does very well, which in this case is the monsters and scares. I was dead convinced this film would be a PG given that it has been largely marketed at children, so I was surprised to see a 12a certificate appear, in a screen filled with some very young children. Boy does this film deserve its 12a; yes I’m a wuss, but there are moments of this film that are legitimately terrifying. Horror veiled in a kid-friendly disguise is something Burton does well however, so these elements were particularly enjoyable!
What the young cast lacked (again, we’ll get to that!), the adult cast made up for in abundance, but they were sadly given little to do. Eva Green was great in the titular role, and lit up the screen every time she was there. Chris O’Dowd was also great, but had very little to do. Judi Dench had a “blink and you’ll miss it” cameo, but it’s always nice to see her appear in things. Samuel L. Jackson massively camps it up as the villain, but when he’s enjoying himself, you’ll enjoy yourself as well, so I appreciated him greatly.
The best way I can sum up the bad points about this film is that it’s all just a bit “meh”. Whilst it gets some things very right, it gets an awful lot of things wrong. All attempts at humour land like a lead pair of shoes (you’ll get that joke if you’ve seen the movie!), and feel very shoe-horned in.
The grey hue over the entire film just adds to the feel of blandness and despite all promises of peculiar and abnormalities, it actually all feels a bit run of the mill and by the numbers.
The young cast, bless their hearts, try their darnedest, but they’re just painfully bland and boring. There’s a gaping vacuum of charisma between the two leads, and when that dynamic doesn’t work, everything else falls apart pretty quickly.
Burton’s visual flair might be his trademark but in this film I feel it is to its detriment. Some parts of the story are not explained properly, and it’s all glossed over with a “who cares it’s pretty to look at” attitude. Please, if you understand how this time-loop business works, come and explain it to me!
The climax is an incredible anti-climax as well and there’s a truly bizarre music choice in a skeletons vs monsters battle which will have you crying out for a Danny Elfman score!!
I saw this movie so you don’t have to. Burton fans might be just about satisfied, and I’d count myself amongst these (sometimes), but I highly doubt you’ll be wowed. It gets a few things right but it misses the mark in so many ways, and in its obvious attempts to start a franchise it fails at getting me in anyway excited for the next instalment. Skip this one.
Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below!