Sunday, October 9, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Movie Name: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Chris O'Dowd, Samuel L. Jackson, Judi Dench, Allison Janey, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Finlay MacMillan, Lauren McCrostie, Georgia Pemberton, Raffiella Chapman, Milo Parker, Hayden Keeler-Stone, Pixie Davies, Kim Dickens, O-Lan Jones, Jennifer Jarackas
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5
View Trailer Here

Director Tim Burton is back, following "Big Eyes", which sadly went largely unnoticed. "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" is an adaptation of Ransom Riggs' first book of a very successful trilogy. The film follows the adventures of a young boy by the name of Jake. Jake lives in Florida, and is tasked with checking on his grandfather Abe, who lives by himself and is apparently battling dementia. Much to Jake's shock, he finds his grandfather murdered, with some disturbing creature lurking by. Jake's grandfather had told him stories about peculiar children who lived with him during the 1940s after he escaped from Poland. In order to get some sense of closure, Jake and his father, both go to Wales and visit the small island where Abe and the peculiar children lived. After an initial visit, Jake comes to realize the children are still alive, and there's much to the story he does not yet know.
A new feature from Tim Burton is always an occasion to celebrate the work of someone with a unique universe and distinct point of view. Though his latest features have been irregular in terms of quality, the ideas the director brings forward always render his films worthy of viewing. "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" is one of his features where his trademarks seem less present, and where the film in itself feels more generic. Based on a story that is filled with his usual anti-heroes, would seem like a superb match for his touch, but sadly the outcome is something devoid of soul. The screenplay is also convoluted and tries to condense the three books into a single feature, which removes space for a lot of interesting character development that could occur. It's a missed opportunity, since the material is wonderfully quirky, which suits this talented director, who has his impeccable production team with him (cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, editor Chris Lebenzon), though even the very talented cast can't lift this beyond a middling effort (and that includes the stupendous Eva Green, who usually elevates everything she's in). Here's hoping the next film is a better one for Tim Burton.