Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children may not be classic Tim Burton but it is one of his more entertaining outings of late which, with the exception of Frankenweenie, haven’t been great. This might not quite be a film for the entire family as there are darker elements but for older kids, they might dig some of the visuals and characters they might relate with on some level.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure
Fox | PG13 – 127 min. – $39.99 | December 13, 2016
Date Published: 12/29/2016 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE — 3.5/5
Note: This portion contains major spoilers. Readers beware!
Over the years, Tim Burton has been a hit or miss filmmaker for me. Batman ’89 is top tier comic book; Batman Returns bottom tier. Beetlejuice is 1980s classic; Alice in Wonderland 2010s schlock. He’s had some nice surprises like Big Fish and Edward Scissorhands but generally, I rarely go into one of his films with high hopes.
His latest is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children based on the novel by Ransom Riggs and although I’ve never heard of it, even peripherally, it does have a decent sized fan base. Having never read the book, I’m going in just as a movie not how well it sticks to the source material. And as a film, I had some fun with it even if this perhaps is Burton’s version of X-Men crossed with some of the weirdness of his Alice in Wonderland (sans annoying characters).
The plot revolves around an awkward teenage boy Jake Portman (ASA BUTTERFIELD) whose grandfather, Abraham or ‘Abe’ (TERENCE STAMP), is killed under mysterious circumstances with his eyes being gauged out, though authorities blame it on wild life and ultimately ruled the death as a heart attack.
However, Jake thinks he saw something that no one else did and subsequently has nightmares that his parents attribute to stories his grandfather told him as a child, including that of Miss Peregrine and her, well, peculiar school of children. To deal with the loss he sees a therapist, Dr. Golan (ALLISON JANNEY). But when Jake’s aunt gives him a birthday gift from his late grandfather, it’s a book containing a postcard from Miss Peregrine to Abe which also reveals her home is on an island called Caimholm in Wales. Jake convinces his father (CHRIS O’DOWD), with the support of Dr. Golan, to travel to Wales.
The island is sparsely populated but Jake does receive help, of sorts, from local kids who point him in the direction of the Peregrine’s home but discovers it was destroyed long ago. While inside inspecting, he catches somebody looking at him and upon running away, falls and gets clonked out. When he awakens, while being carried over the shoulder of a girl, he meets the very children Abe told him about:
While at first Jake’s amazed to meet them, and guide him through a cave, but gets scared and runs away (again). He goes back to the village and pub where he and his father are staying in a room above, only to discover things are different and ultimately realizes he’s been transported to the year 1943. With the help of the peculiars, who help him out of a jam, they ride back to the home where Jake finally is formally introduced to Miss Peregrine where he also meets a few other peculiars:
During this sequence, Miss Peregrine explains how all of this is possible and it involves time loops, in this case, she and the children are stuck in 1943 and at the end of the day, just before the home is destroyed by a Nazi bomb, she rewinds the day and it starts all over again. They can’t live outside the loop, however, or else time will catch up and they will die.
With the rules in place, and a budding romance that forms between Jake and Emma (who was once in love with Abe as it happens) and Jake even discovers he is a peculiar with one special ability, which easily takes up half the film, the meat of the plot gets going involving a man named Barron (SAMUEL L. JACKSON) who more or less is a mad scientist and a peculiar himself, who, with his cohorts of fellow peculiars (known as Hollows), hunt down good peculiars in order to live beyond the loop for eternity.
Short story long, that’s the basic premise. Like most origin movies, which this is even if it’s doubtful there will be any sequels (though thankfully this doesn’t end on a cliffhanger), it takes its time establishing the rules of this world, introduces us to a plethora of unique characters each of whom must display their powers, before giving us the actual diabolical plot by the villain. It’s a bit thin but the finale does contain plenty of fun and decent visual effects that to me were more Peter Jackson than Tim Burton in some respects.
Compared with the other recent films from Tim Burton, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children perhaps has the most heart behind it, though Frankenweenie was excellent as well, maybe due to how he probably related to the kids who, outside their home, would be outcasts. This is also the more entertaining film as I hated Alice in Wonderland, wasn’t fond of Dark Shadows or Big Eyes.
The performances by a relatively young cast weren’t at all bad as Asa Butterfield showed some acting chops and had some nice chemistry opposite Ella Purnell while the veterans did fine with not much character development to work with though Eva Green was showing some Burton-isms in per odd performance, yet she wasn’t obnoxious like Depp or Hathaway were in AIWL, luckily. Samuel L. Jackson was, well, Samuel L. Jackson just with creepy-as-hell white eyes and Terence Stamp’s limited role gave the film its pulse well enough.
In the end, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children may not be perfect and as I said, might not compare well with the best-selling novel, yet there was fun to be had and if you can get through the introductory aspects of the story, it’s worthy of at least one viewing where or not you’re a fan of Burton’s work.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
The Peculiar Story (12:51; HD) – This featurette examines the origins of the story by Ransom Rigg, his influences and then adapting it into a feature film. Includes some behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Tim Burton and members of the cast and crew.
The Peculiars (1:04:54; HD) are a series of featurettes introducing us to the characters and other elements to them. You can watch them individually or with a “Play All” option.
Hollows & Ex-Hollows (9:24; HD) looks at the villain, Barron, and Samuel L. Jackson’s approach to the character.
Map of Days (17:40; HD) – Here we get to see the loops at Miss Peregine’s Home and Blackpool Tower.
Music Video (2:18; HD) for “Wish You Were Here” by Florence + The Machine.
Gallery – Photographs and Sketches by Tim Burton
Theatrical Trailers (4:50; HD) – Trailers A and B
4K UHD VIDEO – 4.75/5, BD VIDEO – 4.5/5
|Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children arrives on 4K Ultra-High-Definition presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and a 2160p UHD transfer. This film looks quite good with modest but noticeable detail compared with its Blu-ray counterpart and even though Burton’s movies are darker in tone, colors still shine through well enough. It’s not the best looking UHD transfer I’ve come across, and some issues when the picture pans, but for the most part it’s still well done.
The Blu-ray is more or less the same, though, as I mentioned, it’s not quite as sharp by comparison and yet for anyone not going to the new format (understandable), the 1080p high-definition transfer will still impress. Colors again aren’t fantastic but there are splashes of it here and there and there were no noticeable bouts of artifacts, aliasing or other flaws.
4K UHD AUDIO – 5.0/5, BD AUDIO – 4.5/5
|This is yet another release from Fox that offers two different tracks with the 4K UHD disc getting the newer Dolby Atmos track which sounds excellent while the Blu-ray has DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 which was, at best, adequate. Both offer up crisp and clear dialogue levels but where the difference for me shown, at least in testing the Blu-ray disc out, is there is a lack of great depth whereas the Atmos track is a bit deeper with more breath especially during the few action-centric sequences.|
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children may not be classic Tim Burton but it is one of his more entertaining outings of late which, with the exception of Frankenweenie, haven’t been great. This might not quite be a film for the entire family as there are darker elements but for older kids, they might dig some of the visuals and characters they might relate with on some level. The 4K UHD released by Fox offers up excellent video and audio transfers and a nice selection of bonus material.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.