Tim Burton has made a career out of showcasing oddballs and misfits in his movies. He once again embraces his quirky, bizarre sensibilities and his Gothic style in "Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children."
It’s typical Burton fare, but it could’ve offered so much more.
Based on a worldwide best-seller, the movie stars Asa Butterfield from "Hugo" and "Ender’s Game" fame. He plays Jake, a kid who receives word of the death of his grandfather (Terence Stamp). His grandfather left a series of clues leading Jake to travel to an island in Wales to discover the truth.
His journey inevitably leads him to an old home run by a woman named Miss Peregrine (Eva Green). She houses a group of children with abilities that don’t fit in with normal society. These abilities are, well, peculiar.
We get an invisible boy, a set of masked twins, a girl who has a monster-like creature in the back of her head, and a boy with a beehive in his stomach. Basically, this film is a hodgepodge of X-Men and Harry Potter.
Samuel L. Jackson costars as Barron, the leader of a pack of terrifying creatures known as the Hollows that want to destroy not only Jake, but all of the Peculiars. Jackson is known for bringing a sense of energy and charisma to his roles, but this is one time he’s been miscast.
There should’ve been a better movie here, given its premise and what Burton is capable of showing us. The plot manages to be a traffic jam of time travel mumbo jumbo allowing Jake to transport between the present day and 1943 where Miss Peregrine’s home is located. Some of the time traveling is either explained in a highly expository fashion that makes our heads scratch or simply not explained at all.
I know I’m focusing on the movie’s shortcomings, but I can’t deny that I did have a great deal of fun with this film, due mainly to the kids’ abilities, despite the fact that the characters are only sketchily developed. Burton also does manage a great moment toward the end when skeletons attack the kids on an amusement park boardwalk. That gives us some amusing visuals to hold our attention.
Burton is the master of peculiar. "Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children" barely qualifies as good but sadly not great.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and peril.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.