Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Movies, Action and adventure
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Tim Burton's latest spooky fairytale has way too much going on.

Director Tim Burton likes his films busy. Watch a classic like Beetlejuice or Batman, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single frame that isn’t packed with background details: weird creatures, ornate furnishings, intricate costumes. The problem with his new movie, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, is that the script is every bit as busy as the visuals, and it can get pretty confusing.

When Florida teenager Jake (Asa Butterfield) finds his grandpa Abe (Terence Stamp) eyeless and murdered in the woods, he sets off with his dad (Chris O’Dowd) to seek answers at the mysterious Welsh orphanage where Abe spent his childhood. The building was bombed in 1943, but thanks to a kindly Ymbryne (don’t ask) called Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), it still exists within a time loop as a sanctuary for a gaggle of supernatural kids. But life at the home isn’t as peaceful as it seems. Dark forces gather, led by the psychotic Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson). And then the invisible monsters come.

Based on a popular young adult novel (what isn’t these days?), Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is so reliant on backstory that the characters spend significant portions of it just telling each other what’s going on. Not that it helps: With numerous time jumps, face-swapping villains and increasingly complicated rules, the second half is nearly Lynchian in its labyrinthine impenetrability.

Which is a shame, because on the rare occasions when it shuts up, Miss Peregrine’s Home manages a few pleasingly old-school Burton flourishes: a floating girl; a sunken ghost ship; a Ray Harryhausen–style stop-motion skeleton fight. The characters are too numerous to make much impression—Green is brittle bordering on irritating as Peregrine, and all O’Dowd gets to do is stomp and scowl—and the action scenes are over too quickly. The effect is like four or five Harry Potter books squeezed into a single movie. It makes precious little sense.

By: Tom Huddleston


Release details

Rated: PG-13
Release date: Friday September 30 2016
Duration: 127 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Tim Burton
Screenwriter: Jane Goldman
Cast: Asa Butterfield
Eva Green
Samuel L. Jackson

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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1 person listening

this movie is fantastic and wonderful, and not at all hard to follow. Tom Huddleston, movie critic, did not understand it, as he himself claims. one would have to be completely lacking in imagination to become lost in this film. I recommend a change of career, Tom, as you clearly missed the mark on this top-shelf children's film