Tim Burton adds to his prolific career with another eerie and, well, peculiar film to his oeuvre. Adapted from the novel of the same name by Ransom Riggs, the story travels through time and tells of strange kids with special abilities. With a cast of solid adult actors and a large group of young talent and no shortage of special effects, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is certainly an interesting and entertaining movie, but I couldn't help but think there was something more that didn't quite fit within the bounds of the film.
First, as a novel adaptation, many of the plot points are explained rapidly and felt rather rushed leaving viewers unfamiliar with the intricacies of the book a bit lost as the character jump through time loops and witness unexplained superpowers harnessed by the individuals in the film. There is a nice mix of spookiness and comedy as this YA adventure plays out but I would have liked to see more of the horror aspect played up. The final scenes are a bit silly letting out all the tension that could have been built up and dulled some of the excitement and sense of danger.
The story follows Jake (Asa Butterfield) as he grows up to believe strange things from the stories his grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp) who mysteriously perishes under odd circumstances. Jake learns of Abe's relationship with Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) and convinces his distant parents including his struggling writer father Franklin (Chris O'Dowd). Jake stumbles upon the destroyed house on an island in Wales and encounters all the kids who bring him through a time loop. There are plenty of powers to go around but one never gets familiar with any though Emma Bloom (Ella Purnell) takes most of the spotlight as a young girl who can fly and quickly catches the eye of Jake.
The house is not safe and with a warning from another time-warping bird woman Miss Avocet (Judi Dench), Jake and friend soon realize that they are being hunted by Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) and creepy Hollows, eyeless, spindly monsters with multiple tongues and an appetite for peculiar children's eyeballs. The acting is top notch from Eva Green and Samuel L. Jackson but both of them are underutilized to make room for the young cast. Asa Butterfield and Ella Purnell have some chemistry but they are both still growing into their talent to take this film past a silly YA film into something that resembles top notch Tim Burton.
I did enjoy the film and would recommend it to someone looking for a distraction for the weekend but I can't say how readers will feel about the adaptation. It is hard to get excited for something like this when superheroes have become mundane fare at the cinema and the X-Men, presented by the same studio 20th Century Fox, didn't exactly spark at the box office this year as young adult story. The Hollows were the most interesting part but the special effects weren't anything so extraordinary to necessitate a 3D viewing.