Quick Hit: A movie that gets lost in itself a time or two, but still manages to be an enjoyable affair with excellent effects in a final showdown.
I hadn’t ever heard of this book series until it was becoming a movie. Apparently it’s a pretty beloved series, and I’ve since come into possession of the first three in the series. So, needless to say when I started the movie, I wasn’t sure what I would be watching. And when I started to watch Samuel Jackson popping eyeballs out in order to eat in order to look normal, I was… a bit taken a back. Miss Peregrine’s starts violently and ends violently, and is definitely more than your average YA adaptation.
To give a brief summary, Miss Peregrine’s follows a young boy named Jake (played by Asa Butterfield) as he enters the world that his grandfather was previously a part of. It’s essentially the world of the X-Men, only much darker (well, sort of – if you exclude portions of Wolverine’s story and the whole Phoenix storyline). In it exists time travel, levitation, flame throwing, and, well, other peculiarities. There’s an entire world that exists, and it’s a bit overwhelming to find yourself thrown into. However, many of the actors are up to the challenge.
Butterfield is tolerable, but at times you find yourself wishing he would bring a bit more to the role. Eva Green (terrific in the show Penny Dreadful) seems a bit lost here, as if unsure of her character. I get it – playing a pipe smoking ancient woman who can turn into a falcon who is supposed to protect children from being found and eaten by eye stealing monsters is… different. But I thought she would be able to bring more to the role. The character that truly steals it for me is Emma played by Ella Purnell. She often emits a sadness that is much deeper than the surface. She allows you to understand what it must be like to be living in this looped world.
Overall, Miss Peregrine’s strength is also its weakness. It loses too much of itself in its characters. This is often the tale of books gone to movies, because you can provide much richer detail into characters in novels. Here, the movie goes through periods where it feels stuffed, followed by moments where there seems to be no one at all of any consequence. That’s because we haven’t been given enough time with these peculiars to really appreciate all of them. Instead, the movie focuses on the look of the film, which isn’t necessarily bad. It’s shot primarily on beaches and gothic towers, with some terrific shots on a beach and in a cave.
However, the show stopper (pun delightfully not intended) is a stop motion animation sequence towards the end of the film. It’s nice to see a movie with CGI that pays attention to some old style animation techniques. Stop motion still looks great on screen, giving a very particular feel to skeletons.
Messy, but overall, not the worst film in the world. I’m giving it a “C+”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"