Sunday, February 26, 2017

3+1 Short Paragraphs: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

2016, Tim Burton (Mars Attacks!) -- download

Eva Green, as Miss Peregrine, is a Professor X for children that are better left in a box of old photographs from a grotty, mismanaged curio shop. If you know what is best for you. Asa Butterfield is Jake, the young teen destined to find her and the incredible students, he not knowing what is best for him, at all. It all starts with the murder of his grandfather and it takes him all the way across an ocean to an island off the coast of Wales. It all ends with Jake wrapped in a conspiracy of mutated children and the monsters that want to eat them, but without any of the whimsy you would expect from Burton.

As a Tim Burton movie, there are a few things that must be there: wide eyes, impeccable & anachronistic clothing choices, intricate & lovingly constructed scenes, and twee whimsy go wide-eyed with those eyes. At many of the points in this movie I forgot I was watching a Burton film, and wondered if Gore Verbinsky had wandered off a Pirates set and into this flick. That is to say, Burton successfully extracted himself from his own style, but not by sacrificing the fantastical.

And fantastical it is ! The 'peculiarities' that the children exhibit are not super powers, despite my pith. Each of the children in Miss Peregrine's school has a magical bit about them, some wondrous (a girl who is as light as air, and can create air in inexhaustible amounts) some monstrous (a girl with a monster mouth, full of teeth, on the back of her head) but they all get hidden away because normal people would fear them. And all these children are being hunted by Hollowghasts, monsters created in a failed immortality experiment (in Tunguska) that feed on the eyes of peculiars. Samuel L Jackson was made to play one such monster.

Our particular peculiar story has Miss Peregrine protecting her children inside a house in a time bubble, a loop of time in WWII that always ends just before a German bomb destroys the house. Jake learns his grandfather protected them as well, as they share their own peculiarity where they can see the Hollowghasts, in their hidden forms. In a familiar, formulaic manner of teen novels, Jake must learn whether he will pick up his grandfather's mantle (he does) and defeat Jackson and his Hollows. For a Burton movie, it is rather reined in, but it tells the story decently. I was not impressed, nor was I bored.