By Cynthia Ayala
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.
Based on the bestselling novel of the same name, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children brings to life what it means to be peculiar in a world where being different doesn’t exactly work well.
Now, first I would like to address the controversy on this film not being diverse. Yes, Tim Burton’s comments were less than ideal, but I think viewers have to look at everything that went into the movie. The time period is WWII on an Island based out in Wales where the demographic is going to be mostly Caucasian; then you have to look at the photographs that Riggs put into the novel. Of course, there is always room for diversity in any medium but looking at it through those lens people have to wonder if Burton did a grave injustice. Personally, I don’t think so; I believe he played with the area and looking at it historically, in this region the diversity is lacking, that’s just historically speaking. Then if fans look at the novel itself, well it’s not very diverse either. So laying it all on Burton is a bit unfair. Of course, he chose not to take those kinds of liberties with the material, and that’s fine, it’s his choice. We as viewers don’t always have to agree, and we sure as heck don’t have to agree with what he said, but when looking through a lens that incorporates geography, demographic of said local and the book itself, the film lacking diversity is somewhat realistic. Does that make it better? No, but it makes it more understandable and if you disagree with me, that’s fine, not everything is done to please everyone.
As for the film itself the, in the beginning, the acting was stiff. It is painfully obvious that Butterfield was not grounded in the role from the start because his grief, those scenes where the tension is high, they fall flat. There is little connection between the actors within the beginning making for tough viewing. It’s a bit cringe-worthy, the opening, and the narration also comes off as flat. It’s not until Butterfield’s character gets to that island near Wales that he starts to make his character his own. As for the man who plays his father, casting could have done a better job of. The actor felt awkward in the film and he had no chemistry with Butterfield so watching their father-son dynamic was unbelievable and just plain bad.
That being said, the rest of the characters had chemistry with one another and fit their roles perfectly. Eva Green, as always, is a pleasure to watch on the screen and with her hair style, the pipe, and her nifty pocket watch, she made the role her own. She was the perfect person for the role, giving the film so much life with her acting. Green is Miss Peregrine. As for the rest of the characters, here is where I think the book improves on the novel. I know, sacrilege, but it’s true. When one reads the novel they don’t get a sense of the other characters in the novel, they aren’t important when they should be. The film gives them focus allowing the actors and the story to bring them to life and that is what Goldman did so well when writing the screenplay. Also, the switch that Burton made by giving Emma the power of flight, or her peculiarity of air. It brought a freshness to the film that the novel lacked, and it made for a joyful viewing experience.
Let’s also not forget Samuel L. Jackson. Is he ever not a joy to watch on the screen? Answer to that is no. He was brilliant, as always, and the way the film combined various roles to create his was very well done. The writers condensed the roles to him, and it worked out brilliantly for the film.
The writers knew what to do, and they made a smart move with the ending of the film because they were able to create an ending closed enough that if it doesn’t get a sequel that’s okay but open enough for there to be an eventual sequel. It was well made at the end of the day and flowed and for the most part was a fun, imaginative film to watch. (★★★☆☆ | C)
Directed by Tim Burton
Screenplay by Jane Goldman
Rating | Length | Genre: PG-13 | 2 h 7 min | Adventure, Drama, Family
Distributed by 20th Century Fox