Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is a triumphant adaptation of Ransom Riggs’s 2011 novel. The film helmed by Tim Burton manages to be visually dazzling and immersive, while still being emotional and heartbreaking. Even though it’s a tale about superhuman “Peculiars,” Tim Burton never fails to find the humanity in the strangest places.
All Jake’s life he has heard about the orphanage where his grandfather allegedly lived with Miss Peregrine and her Peculiar children. After an untimely accident, Jake decides to take a trip to the island where the orphanage was located with his father. What he finds is a surreal, magical world where children have special abilities called Peculiars and are stuck in a Loop. Despite Miss Peregrine’s best efforts to keep Jake and the other children from danger, horrific creatures seek to upset the balance of their lives.
The ensemble in this film is truly extraordinary and so many of the child actors give incredible performances. Miss Peregrine’s harkens back to a past where rich roles that are written for children and teens are actually played by age appropriate actors. The Peculiars are children who have been robbed of life and having young actors really adds an extra layer of weight to their performances.
Asa Butterfield gives audiences yet another fantastic performance with such gravitas as Jake, carrying us through this unbelievable world. He makes Jake’s relationship with his grandfather (Terrence Stamp) come alive in a way that is simultaneously beautiful and tragic. Ella Purnell spends much of the film floating, but her performance is delicate and grounded in reality. Though Purnell isn’t as well-known as Butterfield, one can only hope that this isn’t the last time we see her on screen. The same goes for Finlay MacMillan and Lauren McCrostie who manage to capture the disconnect between the characters’ mental state and age.
Veteran actor Allison Janney gives a wonderful performance that seems like a nice change of pace from her usual comedy shtick and dame Judy Dench naturally shines. The most disappointing actor out of the ensemble is Samuel L. Jackson, who usually manages to elevate every role he inhabits. It does seem unfair to blame Jackson because his over-the-top, campy lines feel at odds with the rest of the film. This run-of-the-mill villain is the one of the few things marring what is an otherwise solid and intelligent script.
The pacing in this film is a bit uneven and the plot progresses slowly for the first third as we learn of Jake’s predicament in life. Though the exposition to this film is quite necessary, a part of me wishes we could’ve arrived at the world of the Peculiars sooner. Once viewers are transported to this wonderfully strange world, they’ll never want to leave because of the gorgeous, sweeping visuals.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is a triumphant return for Tim Burton and is one of his best films in years. It’s a film all about embracing your inner peculiar, the traits that make you who you are. Miss Peregrine’s is unapologetically eccentric and it succeeds because it’s unafraid to take risks.
Watch the trailer for Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children below:
Seek the Peculiar. Get tickets to see Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, in theaters Friday fox.co/PeculiarTix