June 2, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Geek Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

Tim Burton's X-Men.

If there was a recent YA property that would attract Tim Burton, then Ransom Riggs’ novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was it.  Riggs’ novel used actual old timey photos of faked paranormal behavior to give his work a little extra atmosphere, and that sort of thing just screams Burton.

So, how was the movie?

Sadly, it was par for the course of many of Burton’s most recent films.

As a filmmaker, Burton has a distinctive visual style.  But also as a filmmaker, Burton rarely seems all that concerned with the narrative of his work.  This movie, for example, seems to race through the introduction just to get protagonist Jake to the title location, suspended in a time loop in 1943.  That would seem to be closer to Burton’s interests, showing a small group of weird kids with weird powers living in a house and never physically aging.

But as it is, those kids and the weird visuals are about all I can think of to recommend the movie for with one noteworthy exception.  Asa Butterfield as Jake makes for a bland protagonist.  Love interest Emma, as played by Ella Purnell, is that sort of wispy girl that looks right at home in a Tim Burton movie.  Veteran actors like Judi Dench and Terrence Stamp are barely in the movie, and Samuel L. Jackson’s villain is phoning it in just as much as Burton is behind the camera.  The script does make a number of changes to Riggs’ novel, mostly to make for a more visually exciting climax and maybe add some whimsy, but the rest doesn’t work.  And one or two changes are a little baffling.  Book-Emma has power over fire.  Movie-Emma had her peculiar powers switched with another girl, Olivia, making her lighter than air and needing an anchor at all times lest she float away.

And I would be hesitant to take kids to see this one.  There is a lot of stuff done with eyeballs, with gouging mostly happening offscreen, but still happening.  There’s also the implication that Miss Peregrine, the time-controlling nanny for the kids, may from time to time commit murder in a manner that is only barely touched upon.

There is a mild silver lining in the form of actress Eva Green.  I’ve seen a lot of her in Penny Dreadful, but here she plays a very different character in the form of, for lack of a better description, a Goth Mary Poppins.  Anyone used to her work on Dreadful may be pleasantly surprised to see the actress mostly smiling and chipper, and if Burton is looking for a new leading lady since his break-up with Helena Bonham Carter, he couldn’t do much better.

But overall, the movie was bland.  I saw it on a free ticket with a quick expiration, but would I have otherwise?  I do know it didn’t do much for me outside the visuals and Green, so let’s give this one seven out of ten horrible Chris O’Dowd American accents.

Seriously, what was that accent O’Dowd was doing?

%d bloggers like this: