Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

6:49 AM

Stay Peculiar.
 Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is directed by Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Alice in Wonderland) and stars Eva Green (Casino Royale, Dark Shadows), Asa Butterfield (Ender's Game, Hugo), Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained), Ella Purnell (Never Let Me Go, Kick-Ass 2) and Judi Dench (Skyfall, Philomena). "When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that stretches across time, he finds Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. But the danger deepens after he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers".  Burton is known for being a creative and visionary director - can he bring the treasured books to life but also add his own quirky and peculiar twist to the tales?

2016. The year of disappointments. And to no surprise, once again I am disappointed in a film - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children has everything going for it - the concept, the director and good source material. This is usually the type of film I would love! However, I just thought it was ok, solid at best. Some of the performances were good but most of them were off, the film was no where near as inventive or quirky as it could and should of been and the story just took too long to kick in. The one thing this film is missing ironically is peculiarity - it really doesn't bring much new to the table. 

Something that really does let Miss Peregrine down is the acting - few of the performances are good but most of them are pretty weak and nothing special. The best performance by far comes from Eva Green who may be Burton's new Bonham Carter but she does a fantastic job and captures perfectly what you would think Miss Peregrine would be like. Green wasn't too over the top but at the time time she was eccentric enough to make the character quite quirky. Despite not being the title character, the actual protagonist is Asa Butterfield's Jake who is ok - he has some good moments but also some weak moments and I really don't think Butterfield is ready to play a leading character right now. I don't find him very likeable and a lot of his character's jokes fell flat because of the way Butterfield executed them. Another weak performance was Samuel L. Jackson who once again is only in a film because of the pay cheque and is once gain pretty much playing the same character. Not only was his performance pretty weak but the whole visuals to do with his character felt pretty cheap and not of a very good standard at all - his villain did have some funny lines but that is probably all he had going for him. I really do not think any of the peculiar children were given moments to shine - Ella Purnell probably got the most screen time out of all of them and she was good but once again, nothing too memorable or special. I have to say though, despite a cast full of child actors, the worst performance came from one of the elder cast members - Terence Stamp. I thought Stamp was absolutely awful in this film - his character is pretty important so his performance should be watchable but I found him very cringe-worthy and weak. The performances in Miss Peregrine are generally pretty poor except from Eva Green who does an excellent job. 

The visual effects are definitely a positive for the film - the film is flawless in this regard. All of the peculiarities are brought to life really well with some great special effects. I also thought the monsters were very well realised and the skeletons were too. Speaking of skeletons - that final action sequence was one of the most bizarre sequences I have watched in a long time - that is what the rest of the film needed as that was truly peculiar and strange. However, I do think this film could have been even more over the top and eccentric - it just really felt like it was missing something. Burton is known for being a visionary director that is quirky and will produce films and ideas that nobody else would think of - Miss Peregrine is pretty generic except for a few moments which was disappointing to see. 

I actually spent a lot of my time watching this film wondering when the actual story would kick in as it was plotless - other than Jake finding the peculiar home, there wasn't anything else going on...until the final act. I really think this could have been numerous films as the tone between the beginning and end is completely different - the film could have been 40 minutes shorter (it was overlong anyway) and spent more time developing the characters and exploring the peculiarities. Then film two could have been the actual plot that was rushed into this one - I think even though the pace was incredibly slow, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children would have benefited from taking its time introducing all of the children as they really were interesting and I wanted to see more - a good cliff hanger then could have been the introduction of Samuel L. Jackson's character. The film was trying to do too much meaning it went on a little longer than it should have. Admittedly, the film did get interesting towards the end and I liked the idea of the loops and the monsters so I would have liked to have seen more - that's this films problem, there's so much cool stuff going on in this world but you don't get enough time (the film is long enough though but it spends the time doing less interesting things) to see it all.

The number one problem with Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is it's just not peculiar or quirky enough. Tim Burton has proven in the past how eccentric he can be and what he can do but I feel he was quite reserved. Yes, there are some Burton-esque dark tones and ideas but I just wanted the film to be a lot more fun and wacky than it was. We didn't get to see enough of the peculiar children - there were glimpses of some really quirky moments but if you've seen the trailers, I'm afraid you've already seen the glimpses. Miss Peregrine herself, the children, the villain (maybe a different actor) and the skeletons are the only things I would keep, I would turn everything else up to an 11 on the wacky scale. A film that could have been inventive that just wasn't. 

Now don't get me wrong, I didn't hate this film, it was just fine but it has missed opportunity written all over it. Eva Green is great and the visual effects are strong but everything else is just a 5 when it should be an 11. The story doesn't kick in until the last 40 minutes which then makes it feel rushed but the general pace of the film is extremely slow. Other than Green, the performances are nothing special, some of them being unwatchable. I would happily watch a sequel but Burton does need to return and show us what he really could do with this material. 


What did you think of MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN? Do you think it could have done with being even more peculiar? - COMMENT BELOW

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