Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016) Review

Rating: C+

Bestseller novel from Ransom Riggs brought to life by the director that made some amazing movies in his years (‘Beetlejuice’, ‘Batman’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’) – Tim Burton. In this adaptation, we get the style of the director in the movie that is beautifully looking and fun to watch but not having the best lead actor. When the movie stays true to the source material, it is a delight to watch, but when it goes off the original material, to say it short – it brought in the crazy imagination (in a bad way) Tim Burton puts sometimes in his movies to make it look original and it backfired.

The story begins when tragedy happens for Jake Portman (Asa Butterfield) when he finds his grandfather (Terence Stamp) mysteriously dead at his home. Jake with his father (Chris O’Dowd) travel to an island in Wales to discover the truth of what really happened to his grandfather – leaving him some clues on what to search. Jake’s ordinary life takes an extraordinary turn as the childhood fairy tales he heard from his grandfather start to become more believable. After going into a cave he returns what seems to be a different world, Jake is introduced to the mysterious Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) and her peculiar children at Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But when everything is happening like a fairy tale it turns into horror when Jake is forced to make a decision in order to protect the ones he loves from the monsters of his grandfather’s past, the creepy Hollows and the dangerous Wights led by the terrifying Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson).

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Going into this movie I was sure to get a Tim Burton-ish feeling to it and I got it. His style of directing, visuals and character looks are great to watch and even if you don’t know who is directing, you will always recognise a Tim Burton movie. When bright colours are used to show the feeling of fairy tale – we can feel/see more the distinctive style of Tim Burton. Of course when the horror happens in Home of Peculiar Children (when everything darker starts to happen), the director doesn’t lose his touch – he still brings the Burton-ish style in the portrayals in the Wights and they look awesome.

With bringing a stellar cast to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, starting from Eva Green, Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson and mostly all of the kid actors. It was a delight to see great talent gathered for the movie. They were great to watch and I didn’t get bored by their performances. Especially Samuel L. Jackson, who was freaking incredible – I don’t know for how long I could watch him with those teeth eating something up. His character looked interesting and kind of fun and scary – I liked that. For me poor performance was done by the lead – Asa Butterfield. When he had an emotional scene, he didn’t put that much feelings in the character. When his grandfather was dying he had just one facial expression to show – a confused look on what to do – and that’s all – not even a tear. And mostly that one facial expression will follow him throughout the movie.

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As a book reader – I knew what will happen in the plot and what characters awaits us. For me the characters (the look and characteristics) were mostly the same as in the book. The movie stayed true to the story line (with few changes), not giving too much extra things from Tim Burton imagination in the first and the second act. But then we come to the third act – the final act. I won’t spoil nothing, so don’t worry about spoilers. With everything that happened in the end of the book, we don’t get nothing of it in the movie. In this act we get the crazy imagination we sometimes get from Tim Burton – sometimes asking: “Why do that?”. We get Wights fighting skeletons, a crazy electro music playing, even getting a cameo from the director (try to see him in the final act) and a lot of different things not in the book. With everything that happened in the end made the movie totally different and added a lot of plot holes in the story. When everything ends, we get a feeling that the story ends right there and that’s all – THE END. But knowing that there are two more books (‘Hollow City’ and ‘Library of Souls’) – how can you make this look like that the story ends with one movie? Looked like somebody wasn’t sure if the movie will succeed and maybe they changed the ending so much. With everything being so great at the beginning and the middle, Tim Burton added too much in the end and it backfired.

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For me Tim Burton felt like the right choice for this kind of movie. With visually being a beautiful movie, everything falls short in the plot. Because somebody wanted to change the end – sometimes everything at the end felt not that emotional. As a book fan, I can still say the book is better. The worst part in the movie was the end and I HATED it. Harsh words but true. If you haven’t read the books of Ransom Riggs, you will have fun and you will enjoy the movie. The movie is made for everybody – kids and adults. It is still worth seeing, especially if you like Tim Burton movies.

Running time: 127 minutes; Production companies: Chernin Entertainment, Tim Burton Productions, TSG Entertainment; Distributed by: 20th Century Fox; Budget: $110 million; Genre: Adventure, Fantasy;

Directed by: Tim Burton; Produced by: Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping; Screenplay by: Jane Goldman; Based on: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs; Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel; Music: Mike Higham, Matthew Margeson; Edited by: Chris Lebenzon;

Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Terence Stamp, Judi Dench, Ella Purnell, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Samuel L. Jackson, and many more.

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