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Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Ros Hull

When Jake discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds a magical place known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers… and their powerful enemies. IMDb

Someone likened this to Harry Potter meets X-Men.

Someone else had a full-blown rant online because the director, Tim Burton, swapped Olive’s and Emma’s powers from the book the film is based on.

I would almost agree with the first comment and not having read the book cannot comment on the second – but the author, Ransom Riggs, was apparently on set and agreed with the changes so… Riggs also brought along the vintage photos of ‘freaks’ and the supernatural that had inspired his book and I do love that little bon mot on his thought process.

My only rant is the perennial one: why 3D? Whichever process Tim Burton uses is awful. Everything looks like it was filmed through a screen door and is dark, fuzzy and muddy coloured. However, I have it on good authority that the colour and definition look fine in 2D.

I enjoyed the story very much. All the young actors suit their roles well and they have some wonderful back-up in the adults: Terence Stamp, Samuel L. Jackson, Judi Dench, Chris O’Dowd and more join Eva Green to present some pretty peculiar individuals. A ‘peculiarity’ being a deviation from a ‘normal’ human – and these range from the sinister to the helpful, odd and slightly disturbing.

I am not really sure where this film should sit in terms of a demographic but I think I would take my 11-year-old nephew to see it. He likes a fantasy tale and doesn’t mind the odd fright. However, there are creatures called ‘hollows’ that eat eyeballs so buyers beware about taking the very young. The adults sitting next to me jumped a couple of times and elicited at least one ‘Yuck’!

It is closer to the Coraline end of the Burton movie spectrum, rather than the darker (and crazier) films he makes and what I could see through the 3D fog looked wonderful. Real locations, real buildings and real characters (particularly the peculiar children) give the production a great sense of each of the times it takes place in.

Eva Green plays a great part as the exotic head of the school. Burton describes her as ‘a scary Mary Poppins’ and that works for me too. Asa Butterfield does a good job as Jake and establishes a good on-screen relationship with both his grandfather and Emma, both of which are crucial.

Who doesn’t love a timey-wimey adventure complete with ghouls who eat eyeballs and heroes in all sizes? I hope they make another!

The author saw this film as a guest of Dendy Cinemas Canberra.

Ros Hull

Ros saw Star Wars and immediately wanted to fly the Millenium Falcon. Unable to do that she became a Jill-of-all-trades as her army husband whirled her around the world – and back to Canberra 10 years ago. She has worked in public programs and museum education ever since. She gained an MA in writing whilst getting two daughters through high school - both are now at university and undeniably fabulous (according to her). She can worry as an Olympic sport so she sees lots of movies instead. More about the Author

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