The Peculiar is Merely Dull in Tim Burton's Newest Film

By HANNA EBERLE
On October 5, 2016

Photo courtesy of Nickon, Wikipedia

Tim Burton's newest film, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” is based on a young adult book of the same name. Those who have read the book, written by Ransom Riggs, love it for its shocking imagery and eerie tones. However, as a movie … let’s just say that the story probably looked better in readers’ heads.

The story follows a teenage boy named Jake, played by Asa Butterfield, who discovers these time loops his grandfather told stories about. After Jake’s grandfather suddenly dies, Jake becomes fixated on finding where children marked as “peculiar” are hiding, and why they are so important.

The movie is uneven – although it’s refreshingly original overall, some adventure parts were about as stimulating as an episode of “Dora the Explorer.” Despite the bland plot, Burton really shows his talent through the visuals effects and film production.

The movie does go back an awful lot between Jake sitting at the pub with his sullen father, and Jake interacting with the peculiar children. Sure, teases like this provide suspense, but there is a fine line between suspense and overdoing it. Because the film can’t engage viewers for the entirety of its runtime, the witty humor, visual effects and overall production are gone to waste.

The film has the difficult task of re-creating imagery made by author Ransom Riggs, an almost impossible feat. There are characters who breathe underwater, hold fire, levitate and shape shift.

This film is aimed at people who like fantasy, and have already read the book. As for the acting quality, there are many strong performances that bring the film to life, like Eva Green’s turn as the titular Miss Peregrine. The star, Asa Butterfield, delivers a remarkable performance, but his character is bland. Butterfield’s Jake takes little initiative to engage in any action and instead only asks questions that seem obvious. The plot drags on, going back and forth between scenes as if the movie is going nowhere.

However, the last half hour or so of the movie is exceptionally interesting. The ending features an original, devious plot twist that viewers will have to pay attention for. Moviegoers who enjoy fantasies, and don’t expect to see an Academy Award-winning level of quality, should see “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” soon.

heberle@ramapo.edu

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