Directed by Tim Burton, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is an odd little movie with odd characters involving a lot of imagination, including the animation and reanimation of objects (animate and inanimate) and time travel. I must say this action/adventure genre is really not my cup of tea, so it is no surprise that I was not crazy about this movie. I went in with an open mind, ready to judge it as it played, and it didn’t play well with me.
Burton offers more of the same that he has been giving us for the length of his career. Never really been a great fan of his work outside of Beetlejuice (1988) and Edward Scissorhands (1990). So, if you’re into this genre and Burton’s work, you will certainly enjoy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children more than I did – and I still do not believe you will think it is anything great that you’ll want to watch again and again. I thought his big battle scene was tired, because we have seen it before quite a few times. There was really nothing new about it. And his monsters look pretty much just as they did 23 years ago in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). I saw it in 3D and there is absolutely no reason to spend the extra money, whatsoever.
One thing is for sure, everything is better with Samuel Jackson in it. The man is like bacon! He is the only part of this movie that I truly enjoyed as he made me feel as though someone had some sort of fun making this movie. Asa Butterfield as Jake wasn’t a good fit for the lead role in my opinion and thereby set this flat, off, tone for the entire movie. Eva Green as Miss Peregrine didn’t do it for me either. She was just okay. She needed to channel Helena Bonham Carter for this. This miscasting, along with the fact that the movie seemed to try too hard to be “strange,” made it a chore to watch at times. I was even bored at some points, and with this material I surely should not have been. I should have been totally consumed and into the fantasy of it all.
Another part of the problem with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the time it took to explain what was going on in the story. I suppose in the interest of time (the movie is already 2 hours 7 minutes long) the characters had to relay the information by telling pertinent details of the story instead of showing them in flashbacks and scenes. It played like someone reading an audiobook in the middle of a movie and it was distracting and made the movie feel “choppy.” It took an hour for the action to begin, which was tiresome, but when it did begin it was non-stop. That’s not to say it was completely entertaining, but it was non-stop. There was some level of suspense at times, but for me the payoff just wasn’t worth the wait.
The ending was pat, and flat, and felt rushed. I don’t know how closely they stuck to the content of the book, but I’m willing to guess there were changes made given the way the end was treated. There was no care taken with it, like they were running out of money, or someone had to move on and shoot another movie or something.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children earned 6 bloops out of 10. It’s not a bad movie, but it could have been much better. As stated earlier, if you’re a fan of this genre, or Burton’s work you may like it more than I did. Kids may like it more than I did. I’m not certain how those who read the book will receive it, but if this is how I feel about it having not read the book, I am glad I didn’t read it, because I probably would have liked it even less.