Here’s a question for you: what was the last Tim Burton film that you really, really loved?
Alice in Wonderland? No… come on, let’s be serious. Corpse Bride? It was alright… but nah. Big Fish? I can get behind that.
That was thirteen years ago! 2003. The year we were on the verge of extinction from SARS before swine flu took over as the new apocalypse, Apple didn’t make phones but the Nokia 3200 was THE mobile to own and Britney Spears was still semi-relevant especially after making out with Madonna.
An amazing Tim Burton film is long overdue and with Superhero movies being all the rage right now Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children sure as hell seemed like this could be Burton back to his A game.
Unfortunately that isn’t the case.
Peregrine has all the traits of a Burton film. It’s quirkier than that time I went to Japan and the first thing I saw on TV was Strictly Come Dancing but with a guy in skimpy S&M leathers. It’s also a bit Gothic like those guys in high school and finally it focuses on outcasts and fringe society members like… err… Nigel fucking Farage.
Mimicking the title of this film there are many peculiarities to be found in the film. For a start there is voice over but unless I’ve blanked it from memory it is only over the first five minutes of the film. Where did it go?!
Another oddity is that it isn’t set in New York!? It’s actually set on a tiny island in Wales. Strange, yes, but it’s weirder that it includes rap wannabes who talk in such a strong local accent that even Tom Jones would be left confused.
Some peculiarities are positively gripping such as the host of special children. In a landscape full of silver screen superhumans it’s fascinating to see new, intriguing powers, that haven’t been harnessed for crime fighting or for destroying New York!
Miss Peregrine herself (Eva Green) was equally as wondrous. Sure, her Gothic looks are visually striking, but every time she was on screen I was fixated. There is an expectancy to her performance as if she is about to divulge some revelation but only to you. This intimacy is truly encapsulating.
The tantalising quirkiness is shortlived. In my opinion it’s too soft. I think Burton has made this with the intention of it being suitable for his children who are about 10 years old now. Almost everything about it has it’s edge tapered back to be more family friendly.
There are also problems with some of the acting. For every Eva Green there is a Terrance Stamp who is miscast in this fantastical role. For every youthful, joyous spirit of Ella Purnell (who plays Emma Bloom) there is an Asa Butterfield (who plays Jake) and is dull, drab and quite simply never that surprised, amazed or concerned about the unfolding events – the epitome of meh!
For all it’s faults and misgivings it’s still a Tim Burton film at its heart. I have to be honest that get’s me every time but it’s just a shame that it’s not the return to form I was hoping for.
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ It’s a Tim Burton film- Yay!
+ Eva Green
+ Interesting abilities
– Not gritty enough
– Some odd choices in settings
– Asa Butterfield