Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children focuses on Jacob (Asa Butterfield), an American teenager who has just lost his grandfather in a horrific accident and ventures across the Atlantic to Wales in order to uncover the mystery surrounding the death. Growing up, Jacob's grandfather always told him stories about a strange group of children who live in Wales and have 'peculiar' abilities. When the boy arrives, he is eager to find the house which was supposedly inhabited by these children. Jacob is disappointed to see that all that's left of the house is ruins. One of the local villagers tells Jacob that the children were in fact killed in a Nazi attack several decades ago. However, Jacob decides to return to the ruins and meets the children, and it is soon revealed that they are stuck in a time loop of 1943.
The children are indeed peculiar. They include Emma (Ella Purnell), who can manipulate air and has a special connection with Jacob; Enoch (Finlay MacMillan), who can bring dead people back to life momentarily, and acts hostile towards Jacob; Olive (Lauren McCrostie), who can set things on fire; and Claire (Raffiella Chapman), who has a second mouth at the back of her head. These children are looked after by Miss Peregrine (portrayed by Eva Green). She is a 'Ymbryne', which means that she is able to transform into bird form. Miss Peregrine can also create time loops, and keeps the children in the safety of a particular day in 1943, just before a bomb lands on the house. Another of Miss Peregrine's responsibilities is to protect the children from the evil Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) and his 'hollowgasts'.
While Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is unique, it does contain the typical elements of a Tim Burton film, for example a dark atmosphere and eccentric characters. Unsurprisingly, the visionary aspect of the film is quite spectacular, with the CGI effects and realistic-looking creatures. I was particularly impressed by the underwater scenes. The characterisation is also good, and there are decent performances from Ella Purnell and Asa Butterfield, although their chemistry is somewhat lacking. Judi Dench and Allison Janney both appear briefly, so their characters are underdeveloped. Fortunately, Eva Green is convincing as Miss Peregrine, and Samuel L. Jackson is especially creepy as the villain of the film.
At first glance, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children may seem like it is aimed at children. However, it is more suitable for older teenagers. The plot is quite complicated and there are some scenes that will make you jump. Furthermore, certain parts of the film are gross, for example when Barron eats eyeballs. I went into the cinema without having already read the book, but now, after watching the film, I am more curious to read it. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is not Tim Burton's best film, and it has received mixed reviews, but it is clear that a lot of thought and imagination has gone into this adaptation. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is ultimately an entertaining coming-of-age fantasy that deals with time and the power of youth. It will be enjoyed by young fans of the Harry Potter films, as well as adults.
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