First of all I must state that I’m not a huge Tim Burton fan; other than his two Batman movies I haven’t seen much else of his work. Not because his stuff doesn’t appeal to me, I’ve just never really watched much of it. However, this film feels different; almost like a new direction for Tim Burton.
The story follows Jacob “Jake” Portman, a 16 year old boy who has been brought up on his grandfather’s tales of a school for peculiar children. When his grandfather passes away, Jake must travel to Wales to find this school and to get closure, but what he finds is something else entirely. I do not want to reveal too much about the story as it is one worth experiencing first-hand, but without wishing to spoil, it is an amazing film.
How it looked
I mentioned earlier that it feels like a new direction for Tim Burton. I said this because of the visuals of the film. It is bright, colourful and overall quite beautiful to watch. The visuals are stunning, from the colourful clothes, to the excellent special effects. I felt that the special effects were just right, not overdone and used where necessary. The film also employed some practical effects as well. There was a point while watching I thought to myself “this doesn’t feel like a Tim Burton movie”, but that thought was swiftly removed when two grotesque stop motion dolls were brought to life and forced to fight to the death.
One thing that stuck out in my mind was how distinct each character appeared. It would have been easy to let some of the characters with less screen time to look samey, but each costume was visually distinct and once again vibrant. From Miss Peregrine’s dark, angular dress and smoking pipe to the twins’ white ghost like pyjamas with masks included.
The actors were all amazing; Eva Green played Miss Peregrine beautifully. A stern yet caring mother figure who is, quite frankly, a boss! There aren’t many people who could silence a knife wielding Samuel L Jackson, with only a shush and a stern look. She made the character of Mis Peregrine come alive on screen.
I have heard some people say that Samuel L Jackson plays the same character in all his films, a gruff badass who tosses out swear words left and right. Well to those people I say, “Watch Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”. He plays the humorous villain “Baron”, who remains comedic throughout his performance, but with one line can remind you how dangerous he is. This role really shows you his range as an actor.
Asa Butterfield as “Jake” is another solid performance. This is the first film I have seen him in, but from what I saw, I feel he will go far. The issues “Jake” faces in the film are quite complex, the loss of a loved one, a distant father and an uncaring mother. There are actors twice his age that couldn’t tackle those issues competently on screen, but Asa show’s how talented he is, by conveying real emotion in his performance. There is a moment when Jake spoke to his grandfather in the past; it is a heart wrenching moment that made me go “wow”.
The rest of the cast was a joy to watch as well. The children in particular were excellent.There is sometimes a failing among some writers, who perhaps overlook the development of depth to child characters, as if through virtue of being “children,” the audience will feel an emotional attachment and they need only be cute. However, the writers have given each child a personality and backstory, which allows for a strong connection between them and the audience. I remember feeling sad when one of the children was injured and that was because I liked her, had I not known any of her hopes or dreams I probably would have been more “little sod shouldn’t have been arsing around”. A credit to the actress and the writers.
If I have any complaints with the film, it is with the 3D. I hate films in 3D. It’s meant to make for a more visually pleasing watch, but to be honest it just doesn’t work. For example, there were scenes with falling raindrops and scenes underwater that should have been amazing to watch, but the just looks like a standard 2D experience. But this small complaint is the only negative thing about my experience.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a wonderful film, for both children and adults. It’s beautiful to watch (I suggest standard definition), a charming story and at times quite funny. Well worth your time.