Based on: “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Jane Goldman
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Eva Green, Samuel L. Jackson, Judi Dench, Rupert Everett, Allison Janney, Chris O’Dowd, Terence Stamp, Finlay MacMillan and Lauren McCrostie
Release Date: September 30, 2016
Runtime: 2 hours, 7 minutes
Rating: Rated PG-13 for “intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and peril”
Plot Summary: “A young boy discovers a mysterious historical clue that leads him to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Danger and turmoil ensues however when the boy begins to learn about the residents and their abilities.”
“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” (2016) is one of those cinematic situations in which the trailer is better than the actual movie. The trailer presents the movie as another beautiful and intriguing look into Tim Burton’s quirky mind, but it’s actually a movie that steals plot devices, character motifs and story concepts from better and more successful movies. This is a list of films whose characteristics I saw stolen in “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”:
“Percy Jackson & The Olympians” (2010-2013), “Sherlock Holmes” (2009), “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003), the “Harry Potter” franchise (2001-2011), the “X-Men” franchise (2000-) and “The Chronicles of Narnia” series (2005-2010).
There was not a single aspect of this movie that felt original, different or creative; everything was just a recycled idea from a better film, series or franchise. For example, the main character (Jake, portrayed by Asa Butterfield) is a misunderstood, socially awkward and unappreciated teenager who has oblivious parents and secret special “abilities” that he inherited. Does this plot sound familiar? If you have ever seen a movie before, it should. Unfortunately, that’s not the only borrowed idea in this movie and it just keeps repeating.
The acting and script is also pitiful. No one in this movie did a good job and everyone gave off a “wanna-be” performance. For example, Asa Butterfield’s character felt like a copycat of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, Eva Green imitated Sherlock Holmes and Professor X in her role, Finlay MacMillan acted like a teenage version of Victor Frankenstein and Dr. Doom and Ella Purnell honestly reminded me of Lavagirl from “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl” (2005).
Furthermore, the villain, who is played by Samuel L. Jackson, is hilariously awful and not in the least bit intimidating. The only antagonist roles Samuel L. Jackson has undertaken that I actually enjoyed were his performances in “Unbreakable” (2000) and “Django Unchained” (2012); every other villain role he’s attempted has immensely disappointed me and his portrayal of Mr. Baron in this movie is no exception. He is an awful villain in this movie and I can tell you right now the only reason he took on this role was for the money because he puts no effort or care into this movie whatsoever.
The main problem that I have with “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is that is just Tim Burton throwing random, weird and bizarre ideas onto a screen and expecting people to be awed by it. The strange and weird things seen in this movie are not fascinating or interesting; they are simply annoying, random and incohesive. Some of the events of this movie made me rub my eyes in frustration or drop my mouth in confusion.
The only positives of this movie were the soundtrack and a handful of well-filmed and entertaining scenes. However, if a talented director and cinematographer were to go out onto a street and find a pile of rat excrement, they could probably shoot it in an interesting way and add in a cool soundtrack to it. But it’s still rat excrement! That’s the basis of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”.
Congratulations, Tim Burton. Your film is the recipient of my first “F”. I am giving this movie an “F+” because it is an inconsistent, uncreative, poorly acted, poorly written and flat-out weird film that is impossible to follow. The only reason I would recommend seeing this movie is if you read the book and enjoyed it. If you did not, do not bother seeing this because I absolutely hated it.