Monday, 3 October 2016

'Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children' Review

In an ideal world, Tim Burton would always be at the top creating hits each year. This was the case in the late 80's and early 90's with the success of ' Beetlejuice', 'Batman' and 'Edward Scissorhands' which made him one of Hollywood's top directors. Unfortunately, when it came to the 2000's, the hits stopped flowing. 'Planet of the Apes' and 'Dark Shadows' stand out as two of the biggest atrocities in his filmography. Burton's list of movies is a very mixed bag now, ranging from genius to garbage, meaning that his latest film 'Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children' was hard to predict. Although it is certainly no 'Beetlejuice', Burton seems to have recaptured some of his magic in his latest film.

After the mysterious death of his grandfather, Jake (Asa Butterfield) looks to deal with the loss by finding the mysterious children's home his grandfather visited and told him about. The home was thought to be ran by Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) and was the home to many gifted children. Once he gets there, he learns more about his new friends and also of the terrors they face. Enemies known as Hollows now threaten the children and only Jake can help save Miss Peregrine and the Peculiar Children.

The film carries basic Burton tropes such as bleak colours, inhuman like characteristics and a general wackiness. These combine to create the feeling that you are watching a Burton film and from the start, it seems to be going fairly well. You are filled with intrigue as the film doesn't waste any time getting into the mystery the story follows. Everything is filmed and set up beautifully which was a real pleasure to watch. This carries on through the whole film as the locations are a great sight for any eyes. From the landscape of a bleak Welsh town, to Miss Peregrine's children's home and the Blackpool pier, everything looks great as well as creating fun and interesting locations for these characters to be.

Burton certainly does not hold back with his dark side in this movie with some moments that I'm sure will frighten younger children. There's a moment with a kid possessing a corpse that was very creepy and the way the Hollows attack and leave people should certainly leave a mark on those who are easily startled. It never goes too far and is a good example of how horror elements can be sprinkled through a family movie. This felt very much like the old Burton as it worked very well in creating a feeling of danger in this story. Miss Peregrine played by Eva Green also possesses what seems to be a dark secretive side in a role that she pulls off very well. There was nothing eccentric about her as she was a wise and protective carer for these children which was what the film needed. An interesting character with that gothic look that Burton shows that he can still create.

The children within the story are very interesting characters with each of them possessing unique abilities. Most of these powers were also different to some that we've grown accustomed to with superhero movies which made it feel fresh as it wasn't just the same old abilities we are used to. Unfortunately, there really isn't much depth to the children, just a taster of what they can do. We are introduced to them with each showcasing their talents and that is it for most of them. Ella Purnell's character Emma gets more attention but that is mainly down to her being set up as a potential love interest rather than her having a true personality that engages you with the character. The film looks at these characters and thinks that the abilities are enough to make them interesting which works only for a little bit. Once you've seen what they can do, you want to know more about them but it just doesn't happen. In saying that, I wouldn't be opposed to seeing more films with these characters as I feel there is so much more to explore with not only the children but with the world they live in.

Despite this, these characters do create a fun feeling in the film and this is no more apparent than in the finale. Burton lets loose and chaos ensues on the Blackpool pier in a fun, goofy climax. The peculiars use their abilities in a number of ways that are creative with the villains also showcasing fun abilities of their own. Fairground rides come into play and monsters are used in more of a fun than completely threatening way. This does take away a lot of the tension as you don't feel as if there are any stakes as everything seems so fun that nothing that impactful was coming your way. However, there is still a high entertainment value that should keep your attention and satisfy you nonetheless.

Burton seems to be known for adding a whole bundle of CGI to his movies and for this film, it is a mixed bag. The monsters in the movie for one do not look great as they seem to be a cross between Venom and Carnage from Spider-Man and the Slenderman. These creatures did not look remotely real at all and looked very out of place. Luckily for them animated skeletons were added into face them that were equally as unbelievable. There were also some moments where it looked like animation from the likes of 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' or 'Corpse Bride' was being used which also looked very out of place in the film. It's not all bad thankfully as moments such as freezing the time when the air raid is happening and the impressive scenes using the sunken ship are tremendous and show what Burton can do with the advanced technology. It's odd that there is such a lack of consistency within the effects especially coming from a big budget film that has already gained that money back and some more.

After the final action setpiece, the film seems to lose a bit of control. It seems to completely undo most of what has gone on in a very rushed ending. It doesn't pack enough of an emotional punch as it hoped and went away from the fun manner everything else seemed to have been done in. A weak ending after a highly entertaining setpiece really didn't help the film and seemed quite lacklustre in the end.

Overall, 'Miss Peregrine' is a foot on the right track for Burton. He creates a fascinating world with interesting characters which they could have dived into deeper. Despite this, there is a fun feeling throughout the film and it delivers entertaining moments. The Burton tropes are used fairly well, meaning those who are fans of his will surely enjoy this one. Hopefully he can build on from this and get back to the heights he reached many years ago. Not a masterpiece by any stretch but an enjoyable viewing.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children'? If so, what did you think of the movie? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie and I hope that you enjoy the movie if you choose to see it. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor