Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children draws comparisons to Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Dark, Gothic imagery and the supernatural are the story’s cornerstones. Directed by Tim Burton, the film has every chance to be a big hit with this generation’s young teen audience, but it can ‘t hold a candle to the genre’s golden standard.
The film tells the tale of a seemingly ordinary boy named Jake (Asa Butterfield) who discovers a magical world described to him by his grandfather. That world comes in the form of “Peculiars”, children with superhuman powers, who are cared for at homes run by head mistresses (think X-Men for children).
Some critics have complained that the film is all show and no heart, but I’d wholeheartedly disagree. It is indeed beautiful, with a dark tone just suspenseful enough for young audiences — and it has heart too! The story rarely builds momentum, often peaking and dipping in quality, but it’s a story that open-minded viewers with a youthful imagination can really love.
The movie is first and foremost a visual spectacle, one of few film’s that looks better in 3D! The nuclear bomb scene in particular takes advantage of simple visual tricks to make the 3D experience almost euphoric. The “Peculiar” children are fascinating as well, some beautiful and others terrifying. Miss Peregrine, played by Eva Green, puts in a commanding performance and Samuel L. Jackson is funny and frightful in his role as the film’s lead antagonist, Mr. Baron.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is lead by an unfortunately wooden Asa Butterfield, who brings nothing to his role as the socially awkward Jake. I hate to harp on a young actor, but fortunately his performance gets more tolerable as the film advances.
Tim Burton’s film adaptation of the popular young-adult book is charming and whimsical. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it has every chance to be a smash-hit with its intended audience.
*The Shak Rating System:
5 - Film of the Century
4.5 - Acadamy Award-Worthy
4 - (One of) The Year’s Top Movies
3.5 - Worth Price of Admission
3 - See it on a Tuesday
2.5 – Let Someone Else Buy Your Ticket
2 - Maybe After a Few Drinks
1.5 - Are You Sure You Have Nothing Better to Do Tonight?
1 - The Movie Equivalent of a Zombie Bite