Tuesday, October 4, 2016

[Review] Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Following up 2014's Big Eyes, the prolifically whimsical Tim Burton lays out the welcome mat for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. And it's an underwhelming mess.

After hearing his grandpa's tales of monsters and mutants (kind of Big Fish-y right?), and a hidden mansion on an island where kids with special powers live, Jake (Asa Butterfield) eventually transports to 1943 and stumbles upon the place's doorstep where meets the mysterious Miss Peregrine (Eva Green). From here, Jake attempts to learn the home's strange history and his grandpa's secrets.

This is definitely a Tim Burton film. There's even an encapsulating scene involving a pair of stop-motion animated frankenstein-esque baby dolls with scissor limbs fighting each other. So yeah, this thing has a lot stuffed into it: Dimension warping, time looping, Nazi bombs, an invisible boy, a floating girl, a toddler with a vicious mouth in the back of her head, a campy Samuel L. Jackson transforming into a creature that looks like the Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth...

Unfortunately, none of this really meshes into a compelling or unique story. The fantastical and semi-creepy settings, along with the oddball characters and quirky humor are all fun and intriguing for a while, but the film's second half turns into a muddled patchwork of carnival and Halloweeny mediocrity. It's like Harry Potter but without the charming wonderment and stellar word-building. Or an X-Men film but without the slick, sweeping action (I'm talking about the good ones, of course).

Asa Butterfield, who was good as a young lad in Martin Scorsese's magnificent Hugo, is super bland and stiff here. And Eva Green, who is awesome in everything, doesn't seem to be in the movie all that much, especially for being the title character. The narrative also suffers from that unpleasant predicament in which it somehow feels rushed and overlong at the same time. And its potential themes of exploration, discovery, and embracing differences never really come to fruition.

You probably won't feel the need to stay here. In fact, you might just forget all about it.

( 6/10 )

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