Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (12A)
Jake Portman grew up listening to his grandfather Abe’s stories about battling giant tentacled monsters and living on an island in a home for children with peculiarities: a girl who floats, a girl who can create fire, and an invisible boy among others. When his grandfather is found dead with his eyes missing from his sockets, Jake sets out to find Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and when he does he learns that his own peculiarity is the only thing that can save the other peculiar children from their monstrous enemies.
What a film this was! It was nice to see Tim Burton do a good film again, because I do genuinely like some of his films: The Nightmare Before Christmas, Frankenweenie, The Corpse Bride, Mars Attacks! and I even liked the remake of Planet of The Apes that starred Marky Mark Wahlberg. However, he has been responsible for some colossal heaps of rancid garbage: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being the most rancid of all. However, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a brilliant piece of film-making.
The cast is particularly good, especially considering that a lot of the cast are personal favourites of mine, chief among them Miss Peregrine herself: the wonderful Eva Green. I have yet to see a film that she’s in in which she has not been a fantastic screen presence although I have seen a couple of bad films with her in though. Like 300: Rise of An Empire… what a stinker that was, but good god Eva Green was tremendous in it, chewing up scenery like there was no tomorrow and delivering lines like “we’ll march on the backs of dead Greeks” with utter conviction and a straight face. In this film however, she isn’t scenery-chewing at all, she’s just acting and doing a magnificent job like in Casino Royale and The Salvation.
All the scenery chewing in this film was undertaken by Samuel L. Jackson and boy did he get stuck in! He is the villain of the piece, the sinister Mr Barron and it was one of the few times in recent years that I haven’t seen Samuel L. Jackson just “play himself”. He is utterly terrifying, which is largely thanks to the astonishing make up: white eyes, wild white hair and sharpened teeth… he is a chilling sight to behold and he acts in an appropriately sinister fashion. His villainous character likes to devour the eyes of Peculiars, particular peculiar children, he is a fantastic and particularly evil villain.
One of the things I enjoyed about this film and the thing that I probably liked the most aside from Eva Green delivering another captivating performance, was the special effects. Burton himself is a fan of the stop-motion master Ray Harryhausen and that comes across very heavily in this film. There is a moment during the climactic battle sequence that is a very clear nod to Jason and The Argonauts.
Overall, this is one of Burton’s best films for a long long time. There is an enormous amount of creative visual flair on display, even if the main gribbly creatures bear more than a passing resemblance to internet horror phenomenon Slender Man. It was also refreshing to see a Burton film that didn’t star Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter and it was an enormous pleasure to see Judi Dench and Allison Janney make brief appearances. I’m going to quote my own Tweet that perfectly sums up my feelings towards this film: “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was amaaaaaaazing! And also the best X-Men film this year! And Eva Green is everything!!!”