I’m definitely a Tim Burton fan, with movies like Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish, and Corpse Bride capturing my attention with their creepy undertones, engaging characters and unique plot twists. I was therefore excited to learn that Burton was adapting Ransom Rigg’s bestselling novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Jake (Asa Butterfield) has spent his life listening to his grandfather’s wild stories about a group of people with special powers that make them persecuted by others. As Jake grows older he starts to doubt those stories, but after his grandfather dies under mysterious circumstances, claiming the stories are true up to his dying breath, Jake is sent on a quest to find the orphanage the stories originated from.
And so Jake finds himself traveling to Wales, which is a start contrast to sunny Florida where the film begins. After finding the orphanage, which is actually a dilapidated mansion that was bombed in the second world war, Jake is hurtled back in time via a loop, to a day that repeats itself continuously. It is here we are introduced to an overwhelming array of characters with special powers – a boy who has bees living inside him, a girl who floats, a boy who uses a special telescope to show everyone his dreams… They are led by the titular character Miss Peregrine who is played by the wonderful Eva Green.
The group are hunted by monsters, led by an eyeball-eating scientist (Samuel L. Jackson) who just wants to be human again (but doesn’t care how many Peculiars he kills to do it). It turns out that Jake, who’s spent his life feeling very ordinary, might not be so very ordinary after all. In fact, he might hold the key to the Peculiars’ survival.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has all of Tim Burton’s trademarks. It’s macabre, bizarre, silly, over-the-top, with villains who are overplayed for laughs. It’s also rollicking good fun despite (or perhaps because of) its silliness. It might not go down as Tim Burton’s best movie ever, but it’s been added to my list of his favourites.