Ah, here comes 20th Century Fox with trying to mastermind the next franchise series. Initially, I thought, they are going to treat this as Xmen: Cousins Edition. They almost went there. You could feel the beginning of this movie being guided that way, but it didn’t last long. In the middle of the first act, the movie began to shake off the impostor syndrome.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Particular Children is a stellar book- with solid characters and writing. What Tim Burton has a problem doing is telling that story with Tim Burton cinematography. The first two acts become painfully generic. Over formulated. Being Tim Burton he could have experimented with structure and saved the pacing. If he had, then we could have still chastised him for his diversity in film comments but praised his originality in the film. Neither happens.
The story is about Jake, who doesn’t fit in to his life outside this island for special powered kids, but doesn’t think he’s weird enough to be one of them. In the book, it does a great job of him not coming off as broodish, just out of place. When he meets Miss Peregrine, he still an outsider and that’s a good story the book tells. You belong when you’re comfortable with yourself first. No magical house will fix it. In the movie, Asa Butterfield just gives off a very meh feeling. Meh to meeting new people, meh at their powers, meh at his role in the house. I don’t blame Butterfield, I blame Burton because I’m sure that was the direction. Don’t convey too much. Be the white wall. I’m telling you, the invisible boy was more interesting.
Your entire ticket price is going to Eva Green and Samuel L. Jackson. Green wasn’t the female Xavier, she is the leader of the misfits. The last thing you need in the movie is to be reminded of how badly Fox destroyed the Xmen series. Green puts a little big of herself in the character, with the winks and the mannerisms. You didn’t feel that in the book, but you do feel her the actor. It’s not detracting and serves well. Jackson doesn’t appear until the third act. He lifts the movie to a place that you wished had come in the second act. The middle dragged and saving everything for the end of the movie is a waste of film and time. There’s also a great fight scene towards the end that would have been good with a mild prequel early on. Something to make you salivate. Instead there are parts of the movie where you’re just waiting.
I can’t end this review without talking about the children. Bronwyn is a giggling mini Hulk. Fiona is underestimated. My favorite is the sheer creepiness of the twins.
Who is going to see this movie? Anyone across the demographic that read the book. Also Tim Burton fans. Is this more preteen? Yes, but so was Harry Potter and the Hunger Games and they picked up a huge chunk of the 18-34 movie goers. Is it as great as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? Nope, but still not as stale as Twilight.
Ratings: 4 Duffies