Tim Burton has returned to the fantasy world, in his latest film Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, set to hit theaters September 30th. Adapted from the novel by Ransom Riggs, The story follows a modern teenager named Jake, played by Asa Butterfield. His grandfather, played by Terrance Stamp, shared many bedtime stories throughout Jake’s childhood involving characters with special abilities called ‘Peculiars’. After his grandfather is mysteriously murdered, Jake convinces his therapist and parents that the best form of closure would be to visit the old town in Wales, where his grandfather grew up in search for answers. Here, he finds a loop which allows certain gifted individuals to travel back to 1943 where he meets Miss Peregrine and a group of children known as peculiars.
Each of the peculiar characters in the film have a different ability. Think X-Men, if one mutant had to eat with a mouth on the back of her neck, another can grow vegetables as a miraculous speed, and another has the ability to reanimate the dead by implanting a heart in the body. Okay, more-so a mix of X-Men, Harry Potter and some goth flavor.
The performances from majority of the cast are brilliant. Asa Butterfield and Ella Purnell share great chemistry, each of the children have their time to shine throughout the film but the two stand-out actors of the film come from the radiant Eva Green and Samuel L. Jackson. Eva Green is fantastic as Miss Peregrine, she is mysterious yet nurturing. Eva steals every scene she is in. Meanwhile, Samuel L. Jackson’s performance is over-the-top, but it suits him, especially considering this is a Burton film. Jackson played the white-eyed villain of the film who goes by the name of Baron. Although Butterfield is the main focus of the film, if not sharing the screen with his love-interest, he often feels a bit stiff and at times outshined by the other characters during pivotal moments.
The effects are one of the more impressive feats of the film, Burton certainly provides some attractive visuals, many of which featured some of his creepier Burton-esque signature flare. Although this is rated PG-13, I could see some of the younger audiences becoming squirmish over some of these scene. One scene in particular is when Samuel L. Jackson’s character and company are feasting on a rather large bowl of children’s eyes, while laughing hysterically. Another involved two stop-motion animated puppets dueling to the death. Moments like these are what Burton does best.
Burton has perfected the ability of creating some obscene, disturbed looking characters. The look Burton created for the villains, both evil peculiars and Hollows, will definitely give you the chills. The Hollows, also known as Hollowgasts, are tall, sharp-fanged, tentacle-mouthed creatures that were the result of an experiment gone wrong in an attempt to gain immortality.
One of the few problems I had with this film was, although I came into the film without familiarizing myself with the novel, the overall story itself was rather predictable, from the moment Jake lost his grandfather to the epic finale. What’s ahead can be seen miles ahead. Luckily, this doesn’t distract too much from the overall entertainment of the film.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children debuted during Fantastic Fest this weekend and during the festival, we spoke with Tim Burton, on what attracted him to the film,
“When I read the book, the photographs, the themes, feeling peculiar about fitting in, fantasy and reality, the sort of family kind of relationship, there was a lot of little thing like that that really attracted me to it. I felt like I had almost written it myself, but I didn’t.”
We fully agree that Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children was certainly meant for a director as unique as Burton. Using Ransom Riggs foundation and Burton’s eye for captivating worlds, this film is definitely not one to sleep on.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children hits theaters September 30th, and stars Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Also, in case you missed it, The City of Austin announced September 25th “Keep Austin Peculiar” Day during Fantastic Fest.