FILM REVIEW | Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

FILM REVIEW | Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
Starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, and Samuel L. Jackson
Written by Ransom Riggs (based upon his novel) and Jane Goldman; Directed by Tim Burton

Review by Mark David Major

(Film blurb) From visionary director Tim Burton, and based upon the best-selling novel, comes an unforgettable motion picture experience. When Jake discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds a magical place known as 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…and their powerful enemies. Ultimately, Jake discovers that only his own special “peculiarity” can save his new friends. (Film blurb ends) We probably need air quotes around the word ‘unforgettable’ for that description.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016) is OK. The “Critics Consensus” on the Rotten Tomatoes website is pretty spot-on, namely: “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children proves a suitable match for Tim Burton’s distinctive style, even if it’s on stronger footing as a visual experience than a narrative one.” The visual effects are outstanding but it is a Tim Burton film. What would you expect? In fact, this is the type of film that Tim Burton has done so many times that he can produce/direct them in his sleep. Eva Green plays her Penny Dreadful character absent the ‘Am I evil or good?’ internal angst, which kind of seems like a waste of this particular actress’ considerable talents. Please, someone give Eva Green is good role now. Samuel L. Jackson plays the same Samuel L. Jackson villain we’ve seen half-a-dozen times or more. Perhaps this best identifies the real problem with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which is the adults involved are too much in their comfort zone, so it seems like they are phoning in their efforts.

Of the younger actors, Ella Purnell as Emma is the only one who makes an impression. She rocks the same Burton-actress vibe as Christina Ricci in Sleepy Hollow. She even looks like a carbon-copy of a young Christina Ricci. The first hour borders dangerously close to boring. The pace picks up steam in the second half of the film but that is not enough to elevate the film into good or great. I suppose an indictment would be the film did not inspire any desire on my part to read Ransom Riggs’ novel, which is the source material for this film. Mark’s Grade: C+

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