Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children- Film Review
Film director, Tim Burton in my opinion, could be dubbed the ultimate wizard of everything magical and surreal. In this new and exciting film, the director lives up to his name and brings to life a Gothic, enchanted world filled with a cast of children called “peculiars” because of the supernatural powers they possess. They live in a secret world like ‘Narnia’ under the protection of Miss Peregrine, an awe-inspiring woman.
The lead character, Jacob, shortened to Jake in the film, is played by Asa Butterfield. He is a regular kid in suburban Florida, he is a bit of an outcast as he does not have any friends and passes his time packing adult diapers at a local convenience store as his after-school job. His grandfather Abe, played by Terence Stamp, is portrayed as Jake’s closest companion, as the film delves into childhood memories of Jake being enthralled by his grandfather’s storytelling about the magical orphanage he used to live in where the kids were all a bit strange and cared for by a maiden named Miss Peregrine. As Jake gets older, the stories lose their lustre but the stories still resonate in his head although he is a teenager.
So when Abe calls Jake in a panic about protecting himself against monsters, Jake’s parents tell him to drive to his house and calm his grandfather’s dementia-ridden psyche. However, upon arrival Jake discovers his grandfather’s home in disarray with the old man lying in the grass, scratches on his face and his eyeballs missing. He whispers a few key things to Jake — something about Emerson, Peregrine, an island in Europe and a loop — and dies.
Somehow Jake, with the support of his therapist, convinces his zoologist father (Chris Dowd) to take him to the Welsh island his grandfather whispered about. The adults figure this will bring closure. Jake knows once he pokes around enough, he’ll find his grandfather’s old orphanage and try and piece together the puzzle.
The surreal imagination, the gothic imagery and the general sense of weirdness are what define Burton. Miss Peregrine, with its gothic design of an old Victorian house as the main location of filming with strange stop-motion animation and monsters that tower like skyscrapers, is the ultimate accomplishment for the director. Unlike Alice in Wonderland, in which an unrestrained Burton crumbled under the weight of weightless Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) Miss Peregrine is a much more intimate movie.
The cast fall easily into their roles and make their characters effortlessly real, for example Eva Green as Miss Peregrine plays an over the top character, uttering every sentence in a fast British accent, exuding a sense of functionality. Although the characters in the alternate world Jake stumbles into are interesting, he himself is a bit boring as he spends most of the film asking questions and stumbling around in a dumbfounded state.
The film is an adaptation of a series of novels written by Ransom Riggs. I personally prefer the written stories above the movie as it seemed a bit cluttered trying to capture the books in shortened time. However the film is a must-see and is suitable for both adults and children.