A young teen discovers secrets from his grandfather’s past that leads him to a hidden school for children with “peculiar” abilities. Not only does he discovery that this school is hidden within a time loop but they are also in danger of dangerous creatures and a madman who wants to destroy the children and their caretaker Miss Peregrine.
The latest Tim Burton film brings viewers to a new world of fantasy and darkness. From a visual standpoint, it’s fantastic, which of course being a Tim Burton film there’s no surprise there. The world of the Peculiars is one of beauty and magic and one that you find yourself immersed in. Not only this but we are given a lovable group that inhabit the school and a sharp but caring caretaker. Our lead character is also very likable in the sense that he’s not made to be super good-looking. He’s a normal human being dealing with a boring life and soon finds himself in this new world and in the process learning more about himself. In general the story is engaging enough and features some nice visuals, but in the long run the narrative and the script is just very poorly written. Had they made the script more simplistic as opposed to cramming a bunch of plot points into it that ultimately makes it feel bloated, implausible and often times confusing. On top of that, the villain at hand is completely ridiculous. The characters are supposed to fear this man known as the Baron, but the dialogue and persona he’s given is completely ridiculous and over the top. The only thing that makes him threatening is what we know about him through conversation, but when we get to know him in general, it’s groan-worthy. It’s a shame that Burton chooses to go down this route like he did with Alice in Wonderland and not go back to his darker roots.
In the lead we have Asa Butterfield as Jake, Butterfield is more or less pretty bland in the performance despite the character having a likable personality, but there’s nothing particularly special regarding the performance unfortunately. Butterfield does share some nice scenes with Ella Purnell as Emma, who provides a charming and sweet performance, which almost makes up for her counterparts lacking performance. While I’m not the biggest fan of Eva Green as an actress, I did like her portrayal of Miss Peregrine. The wit and edginess that Green provides for the character is amusing and entertaining, but the caring side she gives off is pretty tender and heartwarming. Finally there is Samuel L. Jackson as our villain. Maybe it’s the fact that the villain was written poorly, but Jackson provides an embarrassingly bad performance here. Considering he played a despicable villain in The Hateful Eight, you would think he would be able to bring something to the table here. But even if Jackson was just trying to provide what the script asked for, I have to question why he would choose such a ridiculous role.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children doesn’t exactly breathe new life into Tim Burton. It’s more or less what you would expect from him in terms of his most recent films, but it’s still a visually stunning film with charm and magic, despite the weak script.