I was honestly waiting for the one moment Samuel L. Jackson’s character would scream out, “I HAVE HAD IT.. WITH THESE MOTHERFUCKING PECULIARITIES IN THESE MOTHERFUCKING CHILDREN.”
The Basic Premise
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is based on the book by Ransom Riggs and tells the story of Jake, portrayed robotically by Asa Butterfield, in a plot containing time-loops, Nazis, eye-eating, oh me, oh my!
My Thoughts On The Characters And Story
Eva Green… That woman is a national treasure and her beauty and talent deserves to be framed in a museum for all to see. Her ability to emote on screen, whether it be total jubilation or genuine disgust, is such a treat to witness. Ugh I just want an entire movie where it’s just Eva Green as Miss Peregrine doing whatever the fuck she would like to do that day. She portrayed the title character so wonderfully and I genuinely believed she had such an adoration for these lovely freaks.
Said lovely freaks actually surprised me at how likable they were! I usually am not a fan of child actors because they either try too hard or are asleep throughout their performances yet I thought the actual peculiar children in this home were pretty talented, particularly Georgia Pemberton as Fiona, a little girl who has like, vegetation powers. Pixie Davies portrayed Bronwyn Bruntley, an exceptionally strong girl who won my heart over with her adorability. Ella Purnell portrayed Emma Bloom and I actually thought she did a pretty good job. She was wooden during certain scenes but overall when the script called for tender moments, she was able to emote relatively well.
Finlay MacMillan portrayed a Victor Frankenstein-lite character named Enoch and he was… alright. His only character trait seemed to be bitching about the protagonist, Jake, being there. The real problem I had with the acting in this film was Asa Butterfield as the aforementioned protagonist. During the first act I thought he had a relatively fine connection with his father, played by Chris O’Dowd, and his initial camaraderie with the other children was pretty sweet… The second and third act, however, I don’t know what the heck happened but it just went completely away! Butterfield is talented, as seen in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011), but his entire performance was just wooden, stiff and simply unemotional (is that a word?). To be fair, his character really had nothing to work with except asking questions and being really shit at the crossbow.
There was one scene where he learns a valuable piece of information and his best is, “… what? Oh… How are we going to stop them? Oh. What?“
Samuel L. Jackson is also the antagonist in this movie and holy shit, guys, I had some genuine belly laughs at some of the things coming out of his mouth. And it wasn’t only because of his weird fake teeth that impaired him from uttering lines either. (This clip is spoilery but the entire scene had me, my best friend and the audience consisting of four other people guffawing).
I will say, I did not expect this film to have half as many ideas in it as it did. I haven’t read the book so I’m not sure if the following are all in it, but there are parallel dimensions, time jumps, child eating, Europe during the Nazi invasion, all executed in a brilliant Tim Burton-y way and honestly, I am happy to say this film falls more into his better works than the Dark Shadows or Alice installments. Damn it, Tim Burton! Please stay in the realm of Burton-esque films you excel in! There are a few details and intricacies that make you think immediately, “yup. That’s from Burton alright!”
Although it looked beautiful and I’ll explore that more later on, this film easily could have trimmed off an excessive amount of fat. It’s 2 hours and 7 minutes long, when it really should not exceed an hour and 50 minutes… With the performance from Butterfield, it felt like a three-hour epic without the epic… (Sorry Asa. I like you but this was not your movie. At least you were almost Spiderman!).
There is also one glaring issue I have with the final battle sequence and I had to ask myself, “why the fuck did they not just do that to begin with?!”For those interested in this review being spoiler-free, you can ignore this sentence: FINALE SPOILER Can anyone tell me why they didn’t get those two twins with sacks over their heads to just go to Samuel L. Jackson and T2 him? They did it with that random lady that shape shifted into a monkey so why couldn’t they just do that to SLJ? It would’ve saved a whole lot of trouble. END SPOILER
How Were The Other Aspects Of The Film?
This is a beautiful looking film. The dreary-looking present day compared to the bright and liveliness of Miss Peregrine’s home is a delight to witness. There are some pretty fantastic visual effects as well and again, there are moments this film has where I was laughing aloud at the ridiculousness of what was occurring… I’m sure certain moments were intended, although there were many others that really weren’t. Oh and don’t see this in 3D. Sounds like a broken record but it doesn’t add anything, filmmakers need to stop this bullshit.
If you’re looking for a fun, adventure film with sprinkles of magic and want to see Samuel L. Jackson cruise through a role and seem to laugh at everything he’s saying, check out Tim Burton Presents The Xavier School For Gifted Youngsters In Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children Based On The Novel “Push” By Sapphire.
(Yes, I know I made the Push joke once before… Sue me. I like it)
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children receives 3/5 Matt Damon heads.