Newest Tim Burton Film Starts Strong, Falls Short

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” brought wonderful visuals but a messy plot to theaters across America.

The film stars Asa Butterfield as Jacob Portman, Eva Green as Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine and Samuel Jackson as Mr. Barron.

When Portman finds his grandfather Abe dying and without his eyes, he is told to find Miss Peregrine, a peculiar person that lives in a time loop on one day in history, never aging.

Once he finds the school, Portman then faces Mr. Barron, a monstrous peculiar who kills other peculiars and eats their eyes.

The film opens nicely, quickly showing that Portman, like his family, believes that Abe has dementia. Portman and Abe have a close relationship.

Portman’s reaction to finding Abe dying is a little dry, somewhat lacking the emotion of losing someone so important to him, but a following scene helps establish that Abe babysat him in the past and would read him stories about Miss Peregrine and the special children with powers.

The following scenes work well, showing Portman sitting in his third month of therapy, where naturally no one believes his story about the monster he saw near Abe’s body.

Portman’s failed attempts to convince his parents, followed by the easing words of his therapist, give him a reason to find Miss Peregrine and attempt to find peace.

His interactions with his family members, as well as Miss Peregrine and the children, feel natural and realistic. He quickly develops friendships with them, possibly because of his prior knowledge of the group. 

Butterfield and the rest of the cast give excellent performances in their roles.

Portman feels like a realistic teenager, Miss Peregrine effectively embodies a stern but loving mother and Jackson gives Mr. Barron a wacky and nonchalant attitude that stands out in an entertaining way from the rest of the film.

As Portman interacts with the more supernatural world of the peculiars, the movie wows the audience with a combination of practical effects and computer-generated imagery (CGI).

The effects and visuals have a Tim Burton feel, however it is different from his previous films.

Though the actors and effects work to the movies advantage, the plot begins to feel strained as the movie continues.

Not much explanation is provided for why Enoch hates Abe and Portman, aside from some accident that occurred in the past that resulted in Victor’s death.

Miss Peregrine’s explanation of Mr. Barron and the Wights is effective and quick, but as the Wights become more prominent figures in the story, the situation becomes convoluted.

The changes of location and close of the time loop can cause some initial confusion as the characters travel between time periods.

Barron’s plan to use Miss Peregrine and other peculiars of her kind is interesting and, at first, gives a sense of urgency because it seems like they are about to begin the process.

When Jake and the others arrive though, the Wights are simply sitting around as Barron speaks, not even in the room where the process will take place.

Barron himself doesn’t even seem to be in a hurry when he leaves the children to the others, though the situation gets out of his control.

The story might get too convoluted for some, but the movie is worth seeing. The problems didn’t prevent the movie from being entertaining and Burton provided his unique style and beautiful effects.

Relationships move quickly but this does not detract from the overall story or visuals that are given.

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is playing at the Cinemark Town Center and XD and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and peril.


Image via www.foxmovies.com

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