Despite watching A LOT of movies in a year, I often have a few slip under the radar for me. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was one such movie as I had no idea it existed until I saw it in a rack of movies at an electronics place. The cover really caught my eye and I was really hoping that it’d be as promising at it looked. Also funny enough is that it has Asa Butterfield who was the star of both Hugo and Ender’s Game which are two movies I watched recently. I also knew Eva Green a little, her most memorable roles (that I’ve seen) being Angelique Bouchard in Dark Shadows and Ava Lord in Sin City 2. It also has Terence Stamp in a brief but important role in the movie. While he might seem like some crazy old grandpa, the actor was General Zod in the original Superman films. To top it all off, the gothic Tim Burton is the director and the movie is based on a 2011 book of the same name.
The movie is about Jacob Portman, who is just a normal kid in America. He tries to visit his grandfather Abe Portman whom everyone believes has dementia. When he arrives to his grandfather’s house, he finds it broken into. The whole area is beyond spooky, and Jacob sees a giant monster who eventually flees. Jacob finds his dying grandfather who tells him to go to Wales and find a falcon that will tell him everything. In his childhood, Jacob spent a lot of time with his grandfather who’d tell him of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. He’d tell Jacob of their special powers and being a child, Jacob easily believed him. But as he grew older, there were doubts but he ends up going to Wales to check the place out. When he gets there, he learns that the home was destroyed by German planes during World War II.
Jacob ends up finding a time loop, which brings him to 1943 instead of 2016. He finds out that Miss Peregrine and her “children” still live there in an almost bubble in space-time. They do not age, and while the day is always “the same” they know what’s happened in the past and the future. They knew Abe as a young man, and knew he died as an old one. Jacob thinks he’s ordinary but Miss Peregrine informs him that he inherited his grandfather’s power through his genes. Jacob learns that an evil group of “peculiars” known as the Hollows are after them. And Miss Peregrine tells Jacob that his power might be the only thing that will save them when the evil super-humans come knocking at their doors.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children unfortunately is not the perfect film, Tim Burton after-all has been past his prime. I hear there are quite a few notable changes from the novel which is often Hollywood’s dumbest mistake so that could be a reason. The time-travel part often conflicts with the realist part of me as I get frustrated when I see things like paradoxes unanswered or things just conveniently happen. The start and end of the movie are stellar but the middle does feel often like “filler”. Asa Butterfield is strong as Jacob Portman, as is Eva Green as Miss Peregrine, but I also really liked Ella Purnell as Emma Bloom. Emma and Jacob had really good chemistry and I hope to see more of this if there is ever a sequel. While I’m critical of the movie, I did like the movie and I hope to see more of it in the future.