Despite being quite the mouthful to say, MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. It’s a welcome return to form for director Tim Burton, and it once again proves that, if done right, YA books still make excellent theatrical adaptations.
MISS PEREGRINE is based on Ransom Riggs’s novel of the same name, a novel I own but haven’t yet read. Usually I’m a stickler for reading the book first, but this time I’m quite glad I did it the other way around. The film really opened my eyes to the world of Miss Peregrine and her Peculiar children, and I think it’s one of those books that was written with cinema screens in mind. It’s definitely made an impression on me, anyway!
To help briefly explain what you’ll be getting yourself in for, it’s best to think of MISS PEREGRINE as a study in the weird and wonderful. It’s basically about a boy, Jake (Asa Butterfield), who discovers Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, a place filled with all kinds of people and powers. As he unravels the mind-boggling mystery of Miss Peregrine and co., he finds it spans decades and also brings with it a whole host of life-threatening danger for him and the Peculiars. There’s lots more to it, of course, but I’m trying to be as spoiler-free as possible — this is a film that benefits from going in knowing very little, which is exactly what I did, and, in my case, the element of surprise certainly paid off.
MISS PEREGRINE is visually stunning, with impressive set designs, eye-catching costumes and Burton’s signature direction all adding to the overall feel of wonderment. It’s bright yet dark when it needs to be, and every single shot looks like it was meticulously put together. It’s abundantly clear that a lot of thought and effort went into making MISS PEREGRINE look as aesthetically pleasing as it does, and the crew deserve to be recognised for their efforts.
The cast also make MISS PEREGRINE as good as it is, particularly the always amazing Eva Green as titular character Miss Peregrine, and Samuel L. Jackson’s turn at playing an especially nasty white-haired Hollow. The actors behind the children are all fantastic too; it can’t have been easy to imagine their Peculiar powers while working in front of green screens, but this talented young cast manage to seamlessly pull it off. Even though these characters are unusual and completely out of the ordinary, they’re all relatable and impossible not to like. Think X-Men in a children’s home manned by Eva Green and you get the picture!
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN is a film that surprised me, and one I’ll be very happy to see again. It ticks all the right boxes and looks incredible while doing so, and, despite a couple of plot holes, the story is mostly without fault. A great scene filmed at Britain’s famous seaside town Blackpool also adds to its coolness factor, and it was nice to see some familiar landmarks make an impression on a film of this size and scope. I really hope it does well enough at the box office to warrant a sequel — if it does, I’ll be first in line to see what happens next!