Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children SPOILER-FREE Review
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a film I was actually really looking forward to. I am not the biggest fan of Tim Burton, but when I heard this film described as his version of X-Men, I was immediately locked in. Burton's weirdness and eccentricity fits that kind of mutant world really well, and I was excited to see him take on a property similar to it. But this project also offered up the opportunity to tell a story that was maybe a little bit more kid-friendly. It didn't seem like it was going for the dark, brooding nature of a lot of comic book movies today, so maybe it could fill that void. I've liked the trailers for this film a lot, so I've really been looking forward to seeing this movie. And while I liked it, it wasn't as good as I thought it could have been. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is an interesting display of Burton's visual techniques, though as a narrative it's not necessarily the best movie it should have been.
After his grandfather passes away, Jake (Asa Butterfield) travels to Whales to find a home for peculiar children that his whimsical grandfather always talked about. While there, Jake meets Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), who reveals to him the inner-workings of her home.
I thought this film had a lot of good things going for it. Most of the good things about the movie, however, were in its set-up. I really liked the introduction of the grandfather and the mystery that surrounded this home. You're not sure whether or not it exists, and I liked that intrigue. Jake was introduced well as a character, even if they didn't utilize him the best they could have. I think the film's strength was whenever we visited the home. Eva Green was great in this movie as an off-beat, strange headmaster of the house. She probably gave the best performance in this film. And I liked the attention to detail Burton gave with all the individual abilities of the children. We see a wide variety of abilities, and they're different from ones that you would see in something like X-Men. They're not necessarily powers, but rather idiosyncrasies. In the trailer, you see a girl has a mouth in the back of her head. It's more of a visual oddity rather than a superpower, and I think that was an important distinction for them to make.
The production design and the visuals in this film all looked incredible. The Tim Burton-isms were kept for a minimum for most of the movie, which was refreshing to see. They kind of burst out in the third act, but I'll get into that later. The first two acts of this film is where I was hooked the most. The set-up was really good and a lot of what happened in the second act was interesting, even if it does stall then a little bit. The film takes a downhill turn when Samuel L. Jackson's Barron is introduced. It's nothing against the performance that Jackson gives; he does what he's supposed to do. I just think the character was a little too much for the film. But even so, I enjoyed seeing Jackson on screen. He was the result of the build-up of all of the Burton-isms that were withheld from the movie up until that point, but Jackson is just such an entertaining and fun actor to watch on screen that he at least makes it enjoyable.
The third act is really where this film falls apart for me. It gets too big for its own good, and really becomes a bloated mess. The first two acts were really more character-oriented and a lot more personal, whereas the third act turned into a CGI visual splash, which was really unnecessary. It just became ridiculous. My other big problem with the movie was Asa Butterfield. He was so flat in this movie. He gave no emotion or articulation to any of his lines. He just stands around and says everything one notedly. It began to get really frustrating, because there's no way to buy into his character and like him, because Butterfield gives you nothing to like. He's proven that he can act before, so I don't know what his problem was with this movie. This could turn into a very viable franchise, but if they are going to continue with more films, they need to either get Butterfield back on board or ditch him, because he began to become insufferable in this film.
Overall, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a nice blend of Harry Potter and X-Men. It utilizes a lot of Tim Burton's visual abilities and downgrades a lot of his eccentricities, for the most part. Eva Green shines as Miss Peregrine, and is the most engaging part of the film. The narrative was also interesting in the beginning, but does kind of stall in the second act and falls apart by the third. Samuel L. Jackson is entertaining as the villainous Barron, but the character was too much for the film and really needed to be toned down. Asa Butterfield also was incredibly flat, and did very little to carry the film. But Miss Peregrine's makes up for a lot of this with its stunning visuals, humorous moments and engaging side characters that really does make this a viable franchise.
What do you think? Have you seen Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children? Did you like the film? Leave your (spoiler-free) thoughts in the comments section below.
Written by: NateEmail us your movie questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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