Film Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Film Reviews copyMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Synopsis: When Jacob Portman’s grandfather dies under mysterious circumstances, everyone believes that Jacob is crazy. But Jacobs knows there was a monster in the woods that night.

Determined to find answers, Jacob makes the long journey to Wales, returning to his grandfather’s childhood home – an orphanage run by a woman known as Miss Peregrine.

But then Jacob must undertake an even longer journey – back in time to a loop, where Miss Peregrine protects children who have special gifts – children who are peculiar.

As Jacob makes friends and helps the children fight a deadly threat, he realises he isn’t so ordinary himself…

Film: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Director: Tim Burton

Date: 2016

I finished reading the book at the exact time the DVD was released, making it an ideal time to do a direct comparison between the two.

As soon as the opening credits came up (unusual as there were a lot of them!), I recognised quite a few names. Asa Butterfield. Samuel L. Jackson. Judi Dench. Eva Green. And perhaps most importantly, Tim Burton.

There has been a lot of hype around the book. Seeing such a prominent cast made me wonder if the book became popular once the film had been announced. Personally, I wasn’t that taken with it.

The film was… the film was different, put it that way. On some occasions, it made sense. The end of the book would be an anti-climax in the cinema, whereas skeletons fighting monsters covered in candy floss makes for entertaining viewing.

But the children’s powers had been switched around. And I have no idea why.

You don’t have to make us feel safe…because you’ve made us feel brave.

Rather than defending herself with fire and a knife, we are introduced to Emma extending a polite invitation to Jake, then floating to put a baby squirrel back in a tree. Emma doesn’t float – she has fire! Why change that? Why?!

Not only does it serve no purpose to enhance the plot, it completely undermined Emma’s character. Ella Purnell delivered a good performance, but the changing of powers and the script meant there was no backbone to Emma’s character. If you hadn’t read the books, you wouldn’t know what Jake saw in her.

Asa Butterfield has grown up since The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas! I still think he is a good actor and liked his performance as Jake. Jake felt like the only character who remained true to the books in regards to his reactions to his situation. He was the character you could relate to, the only one in the film who appeared to go on any sort of journey.

I am curious about the people who have only seen the film and not read the book. I personally felt the beginning of the film was unclear about what was occurring. Maybe this is because in the book, there was a lot of character background and depth introduced before things went crazy.

But having read the book, I knew where it was going and understood what was going on. For those who hadn’t – did you know what was going on?

The pacing felt slow throughout. The beginning took a long time to unwind and the final confrontation dragged, undermining the danger the characters were in because it just kept going.

As mentioned, the ending was very different to the book. Perhaps the only element changed that served a purpose? It broke the tension because the monsters became comical and would have looked much better on the screen than the original ending.

An enjoyable film in its own right, but would irritate the die-hard fans of the book. I liked the acting and the settings, but the changes made undermined the characterisations.

Wouldn’t watch again.

Amazon | HMV

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