By Chloe Frantzis
Managing Editor of Arts
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Who doesn’t love a great Tim Burton movie? More importantly, who doesn’t a love a great Tim Burton movie featuring quirky kids with strange (even peculiar, one might say) powers trying to defeat deadly monsters that are trying to kill all living things that stand in their way of power? No one? Exactly my point.
Miss. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, based on the series by Ransom Riggs, was just released this past Friday. So far it has been a great success, and meets both the book’s and Tim Burton’s standards.
The novel (which I highly recommend reading) and the movie both are centered around a misfit boy named Jacob (Asa Butterfield), who has little in common with his parents or peers, but a special connection with his potentially crazy grandfather, who tells Jacob magical yet bizarre stories with strange black and white photographs to go along with them (these eerie photos are printed throughout the novel as well). These stories are about his childhood in a mysterious house with even more mysterious children and a even more mysterious headmistress. Eventually, Jacob believes he has grown too old for these “fairy tales,” but after his grandfather is found dead, Jacob is left to decipher his grandfather’s last words, which cause him to question the reality behind the “fairy tales.” His quest takes him to Miss Peregrine’s (Eva Green) enigmatic school.
Although Burton devalues the plot and storyline in order to draw out quirkiness of the characters, it kind of pays off. We get to enjoy watching children float through the air, conduct fire, and bring things to life, all as they try to avoid the hollows– the monsters who can only regain their human form by eating the children’s eyeballs. Burton seems to find a particular amount of glee in this topic.
Predictably, these characters are beautifully and creatively constructed by Burton, and it is exciting and enjoyable to see him play with their powers. Unfortunately, he spends a little too much time doing this instead of flushing out their personalities, causing them to appear as somewhat static characters.
Not only to the children bring charm to the movie, but the villain, Dr. Golan, was especially nefarious and detestable. The role is played by Samuel L. Jackson, and he embodies the character perfectly. With white frizzy hair, smoky, orb-like eyes, and five inch teeth, Jackson looks so ridiculously scary, it’s funny– especially when he is eating eyeballs daintily with a fork.
His character is not only the antagonist, but the comic relief as well. Jackson plays the character so perfectly that I found myself rooting for him at some points.
Although the movie strays away from the novel’s plot towards the end of the movie in case a sequel is not possible, fans of the series will have nothing to worry about, as Burton keeps true to the nature and style of the books. His famous yet quirky directing blends perfectly with the storyline Riggs created, for Burton brings the photographs within the novel to life.