Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children movie full length review - Movie Nights: Another subpar film from a once great director
I'm gonna go ahead and ask the obvious question: What happened to Tim Burton? He was responsible for films such as Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Mars Attacks, Ed Wood, etc.
Movies that, despite what you might think of them, are undeniably unique and don't feel like pandering tripe, they feel like they come from a very personal place, instead of some hackneyed Hollywood writer's notepad.
Despite retaining his obvious talent for visuals, in the last few years Tim Burton has become a slightly more stylized version of your average hack director. His latest projects have involved taking a fairy tale (or in this case, a book series) and giving them his usual Gothic, whimsical look. These movies might look great, but they fail completely in the storytelling department.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is 2 different movies in 1: The first half is a mediocre 5/10 to 6/10 film that doesn't do anything spectacular, but at the same time never does anything offensive or off putting. The second half, however, is hilariously bad, completely rushed and tone deaf.
The story is that little boy Jake basically has to find the monster who killed his grand dad. Even though it's almost set up for a mystery story, there's no real mystery element in the movie.
The positives: Eva Green's performance as Miss Peregrine carries all the scenes she's in. Despite her character not being given enough depth or screen time, she manages to play her part convincingly. Samuel Jackson on the other hand, completely hams it up to 11 (which is not good for the film, just more entertaining to watch in a "so bad it's funny" way). There are some good scenes, the best being Miss Peregrine and her children watching the Nazi planes come in as she reverses the time loop. It's a very powerful scene visually (though i have to ask: why are they wearing gas masks if they know the bombs aren't gonna hit them anyway?). Oh and, the music is effective and works OK.
Now onto the bad?
-Everyone who is not Eva Green is wooden or has minimal time on screen. Asa Butterfield and the rest of the kid actors are especially bad (though they're not helped by the terrible script that rushes through the character development to get to the crucial plot points). As a result, none of the character relationships have any chemistry. Jake and Emma don't have any time to develop their feelings, so when they're suddenly in a romantic relationship at the end it feels jarring and forced. Why do they even like each other? They're so boring?
-The characters are underdeveloped. The main lead is as bland as an oatmeal and so is his family. The peculiar children don't have much personalities beyond "he can do this" or "he has this quirk", and most of them do nothing for the plot. The villains are hammy and stupid, impossible to take seriously under any circumstances. Miss Peregrine had a lot of potential to be interesting, but she's barely in the movie. There's no emotion in this movie, Miss Peregrine and Barron are the only characters with any conviction.
-The plot holes and conveniences. Leaving aside all the time travel related stuff, there's things that just make no sense, like Barren transforming into the psychologist to trick Jake into going to Wales (Really? That was your plan? There's so many ways in which you can fail?), or when the villains inexplicably split like idiots instead of sticking together. Why does no one notice the invisible monsters when they're pushing everyone around and get stuff thrown at them? WHY DID NO ONE REACT TO A BUNCH OF SKELETONS AND KIDS WITH SUPERPOWERS FIGHTING INVISIBLE MONSTERS?
-The entire carnival sequence: This entire part is so bad it ended any hope i had for the movie. I was trying very hard to not laugh in the theater. Where do i begin? First off, why a carnival? Second, who's idea was to have the kids throw candy at the monsters in order to make them visible? like what is this, Home Alone meets the X- men? How am i meant to take any of this seriously? One of the villains gets killed by a slow moving railway and Enoch reanimates a bunch of spooky skeletons with swords to fight the invisible monsters? no further comments on this sequence.
-The main villain is so clueless that all his plans were foiled because of his own faults (Maybe all the birds wouldn't have escaped if he shut off the windows?), in the end he has Jake in his hands, but instead of killing him right there, he lets Enoch and Olive get involved for no reason. Jake was actually a pretty useless protagonist, all he had to do was see the monster in the end and shoot him in the head.
I have a couple of more nitpicks, but at it's core these are the main problems with the movie. Everything in it seems like it's marking a checklist of things that are expected to be in an adaptation of a young teen book. Everything is so bare bones and underdeveloped that it feels like this was the plot of 2 movies compressed into one.
So in short, do i recommend the movie? Well it's not the worst out there right now, but no. Fans of the books will be disappointed. So will Burton fans. If you like "so bad it's good" movies, there are better alternatives. And if you're one of those guys that watches a lot of movies and thinks very hard about them, then avoid this at all costs.
see my far more detailed reviews at