Mr. Burton's Wacky New Movie for Peculiar People
Tim Burton has had kind of a slump for a few years. While I personally really enjoyed Big Eyes in 2014, it failed to really scream "comeback" for most people, and something stronger was needed to show that the director was headed in the right direction. When Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children was announced, it seemed like a perfect fit for the director and it was even more welcome to not have a white faced Johnny Depp doing his same old schtick. Instead, Burton reunites with Eva Green who was the best part of the disappointing Dark Shadows to tell the story of a headmistress who takes in wayward children with incredible powers (basically, the Tim Burton version of X-Men.)
The beginning of the film finds Asa Butterfield's (Hugo, Ender's Game) character Jake living a humdrum life. When he discovers his Grandfather dying in a field with his eyes stolen (yes you read that right...) everything changes as he desperately seeks for some closure. His therapist (the always solid Allison Janney) encourages him to seek out the children's home his Grandfather told him about when he was growing up. As a teen, Jake accepted the stories to be fairy tales that he hoped were true, but seemed too far fetched to be. Soon he discovers an entrance to the world his Grandfather always talked about and how magical and real it was...as well as the dangers that lurk in destroying their existence.
The film starts off with a ton of promise and a lot of the magic that made Burton's films from the 90's so wonderful. It feels like a true return to form, and you get excited about the world you're being introduced to. Unfortunately, that magic starts wearing thin due to the pacing of the film. After awhile, you've seen enough and you're ready for some of the real conflict to begin. But sadly, once it does the film kinda falls apart. The concept is good, but the execution just gets a bit sloppy from the middle on until the end. Eva Green sparkles in the role of Miss Peregrine, but the movie needed more of her. Ella Purnell, who plays the light as air Emma Bloom is kind of the film's heart and her unique look you can tell must have been a muse for Burton. She fits right into his world and is probably one of the best parts of it. The other kids are decent, but towards the end you're unsure how great their peculiarities really are. Butterfield is serviceable as the newcomer to the clan, but I've always found him to be somewhat of a bland performer....he never truly engages me in a role. Some of the TV spots declare this film as "the magic of Harry Potter meets the action of X-men." I only wish that could actually be accurate because the film needed quite a bit more of both things to make it truly stand out.
So sadly, no Miss Peregrine is not a comeback, but rather is just another jumbled mess from Tim Burton. It had potential to be a little more, but falls short in its rambling middle and ridiculous ending. RATING: 6/10