Directed by Tim Burton
Starring – Eva Green, Asa Butterfield and Samuel L Jackson
16 year old Jacob’s (Asa Butterfield) life is thrown into disarray after the sudden and mysterious passing of his beloved grandfather. With his stories of peculiar children and monsters throughout Jacob’s childhood, Jacob is finally motivated to uncover the truth and follow the trail of clues left by his grandfather and the enigmatic Miss Peregrine.
I have FINALLY been to see this film so I went all out and watched it in 3D (totally not necessary). After so much hype and excitement on my behalf, I really wish this review was going to live up to the expectations I’d set out but I’m going to have to be the bearer of bad news. I was a little disappointed.
I’m going to start and be frank. This is not a Tim Burton film. Yes he directed it and felt the need to be a random split second cameo but thats where the Burton touch finishes. Having read the book (well nearly) I know that this film could have seriously been every bit a Burton masterpiece and with two follow up books he could have had a successful franchise. From the minute the film started though it just didn’t have the Burton feel. I’m not sure why Burton took the film on board but it gives off the impression it wasn’t a film he had an awful lot of love for. It feels like a generic kids adventure film and it really shouldn’t have been. The book is eerie and adult, the film was just disappointing. With a Burton touch on the film, there were moments that should have terrifying.
I draw comparison’s between the book and the film but there’s no need to. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was certainly based on the book but that’s about it. It was a loose adaptation and the changes made I really didn’t like. Without giving too much away I’ll give you an example; Jacob’s love interest is different and creates a bizarre dynamic but then to make up for that the original female character Jacob likes in the books gets a different love interest. It was just so wrong. In book number one of the series a large portion of the it is Jacob trying to uncover the mysteries and learn about the peculiar children with a bit of action towards the ending, presumably setting up the sequel. In the film, the discovery of the children took about 20-30 minutes meaning the tiny bit of action at the end was stretched out to make up the majority of the films narrative. I get audiences demand action in films but seriously if Burton had worked harder on the film the discoveries could have been more eerie, more tense and that could have been the action. I don’t know yet whether multiple books were mashed together but elements were so different when you genuinely could have made a much better film story out of the original book. Essential bits of exposition weren’t there so the newer explanations given were simplified and ruined the weirdness and mystery of the book.
I genuinely have come away from this film so disappointed, not just in the film itself but also in Burton. I am a huge fan and will go out of my way to watch a film if it has his name splashed all over it, but this has really made me consider if I’ll go to see his films so eagerly again. I raved about the cast so much but when you watch the dynamics on screen it seems like such an odd combination and the actors aren’t being used to their full potential. I mean, Judy Dench was in this film. Judy Dench. She was on screen for a total time that was well under 10 minutes. The character she was given isn’t in the books for that long so I really don’t understand why you’d waste her on such a small role. Samuel L Jackson is also in this film. Okay Samuel L Jackson was great, but hedidn’t really appear till later in the film. Eva Green started out so well in the film, she put a really enigmatic twist on Miss Peregrine’s role that I really enjoyed but then it all just fell flat and the emotion was lost. Asa Butterfield is an actor that I’ve never thought was incredible, sure he’s done alright for himself but I think for the most part it’s because of the jet black hair and bright blue eyes. He’s always played quite flat characters that haven’t necessarily required an emotional performance, but in Miss Peregrine he needed emotion and it wasn’t there. As a result there were some really awkward moments created on screen. That happened more and more frequently toward the end of the film, not necessarily with the above mentioned actors but just in general. The acting fell flat so the story did too.
There were some funny moments and some of the visual effects used were really nice but I feel wholeheartedly upset with the film. It’s been so hyped up and there were elements within the story that showed some massive promise but it didn’t deliver. When the film started I was open to the idea of the fact it was probably going to be a little different and I embraced those differences at the start but then the film stopped trying and I stopped enjoying. All disappointments with the film aside, I would urge you to read the book. The book is so so so much better. Sorry Tim.