It’s been a pretty rough go of things for Tim Burton recently. Many of his films the last few years were torn apart by critics but to be fair, all of those movies featured Johnny Depp. If there is one couple we wish would break up and never get back together, it’s Depp and Burton. Fortunately, Depp has nothing to do with this movie, so there is a chance of success, no matter how slim it actually is.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is not only a completely difficult title to say and pronounce but it is also based on the 2011 book under the same title. Once Fox bought the rights to the film, they brought in Burton to direct and ONLY direct because they know better. Love or hate his films, the one thing no one can take away from him is that his movie is visual marvels. The only question left is, will everything else be up to par.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Say that three times fast) begins with a teenager named Jake played by Asa Butterfield (otherwise known as the kid who dun goofed himself outta playing Spiderman). Jake discovers that his grandfather was killed and had his eyes removed at his home in Florida. Jake has assumed that his grandpa’s stories about a special group of kids in Wales had all been a crazy tale. However, his grandpa’s murder makes him look into the legend more closely. So he and his father travel there to discover if he was truly crazy or if there really is more to the story.
For anyone unaware what is means to be a ‘Peculiar Child’, just think of the X-Men for an even younger audience. The Professor X in this universe is Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine (Eva Green) who sole job is to protect the kids at all costs. Every child has their own special abilities such as creating fire, super strength and invisibility. Jake discovers that the kids live in a loop of the past. They are stuck in 1942 where during the Nazi invasion of World War II, a bomb was dropped on their house and destroying it. Miss Peregrine keeps restarting the loop because if they don’t, their bodies will catch up to real-time and they will age rapidly. As the story progresses, you start to feel bad for the children because they are really stuck in their own personal purgatory. Forced to relive the same day over and over or they will die. If you think this angle is too dark for kids, keep in mind who the director is.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has a great build up but loses the plot halfway in. The story actually started to drag once Samuel L Jackson officially entered the film. Tim Burton, for all intents and purposes, is pretty restrained in this movie. You don’t have the outstanding visuals that we’re entitled to see in his films. There are about two really good set pieces, but it feels like a lackluster effort from what we’re used to seeing creatively from him.
Eva Green does a great job in her performance as a hard-nosed Mary Poppins (probably too late to recast Emily Blunt). Green is arguably the only person who gives an authentic performance. The young leads of Asa Butterfield and Ella Purnell are serviceable but they don’t leave anything memorable. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a solid effort but is ultimately dragged down by its lack of narrative.