Review of 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children'

miss_pergegrine.jpg Jake (Asa Butterfield) is a young man who has grown up with tales from his grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp) of a home for “peculiar children” on an island off the coast of Wales. These “peculiar children” have abilities that include Emma (Ella Purnell) who has the ability to control air who wears metal shoes to prevent her flying away, Hugh (Milo Parker) a boy who has bees living inside him, Millard (Cameron King) who is invisible, and two masked twins (Joseph and Thomas Odwell). The home is managed by Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) who is able to transform into, unsurprisingly, a Peregrine falcon but also has the ability to control time. To keep the children safe Miss Peregrine keeps the house in a “time loop” where it is perpetually September 3rd, 1943.

Jake witnesses a monster attacking his grandfather who tells him that his stories are true and he must go to the island. Jake's father (Chris O'Dowd) is cynical with his son's fantastic tales and determination to visit this mysterious island but is convinced by Jake's psychologist Dr. Golan (Allison Janney) that it will bring “closure”. Travelling to the island Jake quickly learns his grandfather's stories are indeed true. He is also told that there are other Peculiars called “Hollowgasts” (or just “Hollows”) that have been turned into monsters due to an experiment gone wrong who hunt groups of peculiar children protected in such time loops that they harvest to become immortal. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) is one of these twisted peculiars who, thanks to Jake, has discovered their time loop and is on his way…

The acting here is generally very good with these quirky characters. Butterfield, as Jake, does a good job as the young man struggling to rationalise reality with the fantastic visions of his grandfather while Green, as Miss Peregrine, is an imposing figure with suitably stern, yet kind, demeanour. O'Dowd as Jake's Ornithologist father plays the role in a typically understated yet caring manner, cynical yet willing to go along with things because of his love for his son…and, perhaps the chance to spot some unusual birds for the book he is working on (!). Jackson, of course, plays the bad guy very well and adds a touch of dark menace to the film. The actors playing the peculiar children are quite good in what, to be honest, are pretty one dimensional roles that only start to show glimmering of personality in the last few minutes of the film.

Obviously the story here is of Jake being vindicated in his belief of his grandfather's tale. The film spends much of the time explaining the odd logic of this world with an action-filled finale as the Hollows close in on the children. I have to say that I found the ending rather sudden and slightly confusing. I can't help feeling that this film sets us up for many more instalments in future.

Another unusual and intriguing tale from Tim Burton with amazing effects, an interesting story and a talented cast. Burton's dark vision is very much in evidence with this rather spooky and unusual tale. This is all about story with somewhat one-dimensional characters but is still well worth watching.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2017-03-25

Directed by: Tim Burton

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Year: 2016

Length: 127 minutes

Genre: Fantasy

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