Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

In every world there are those born with shall we say extraordinary abilities. In some realities, they go to school to train to fight and grow up to be X-Men. In Miss Peregrine’s world, however, they are called ‘peculiar’ and hidden away in time loops, staying children forever, but hopefully safe from the monsters who quite literally want to eat their eyes.

Like the rest of us who still haven’t managed to read Ransom Rigg’s book of the same name, Jake (Asa Butterfield) knows nothing about any of this until his grandfather is attacked. Suddenly it looks as if the old man’s stories might not be so outrageous after all, and Jake convinces his extremely staid parents to let him go to Wales to visit the children’s home his grandfather grew up in. Saying it’s for closure, Jake secretly hopes to find out if the stories are true…

Of course, they are, and stranger than you’d imagine. Invisible boys, floating girls, mouths in the back of skulls – peculiar and grim. And perfect subject matter for director Tim Burton’s trademark weirdness, you’d think. And yet, this is his most restrained movie in years, almost to the point of being too understated!

There was simply something missing for me from this movie, some bigger sense of fun, which was all the stranger given the director in question. But it all seemed just a little… lacking, somehow. Plodding, in some ways. Even the wonderful cast (of adults, at least) seem to flounder a little: Chris O’Dowd is hampered with a terrible American accent, Samuel L Jackson slips into Pulp Fiction mode inappropriately, Judi Dench, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp – all barely in it. Only Eva Green comes out well, in my opinion, her wonderful off-kilter accent adding perfectly to the bird-like quality with which she imbues her character.

Overall, then, this just rather failed to impress me. It could have been so much more fun, but just fell a bit flat, for no single reason I can put my finger on.

Released: 30th September 2016
Viewed: 1st October 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Rated: 12A

My rating: 6/10

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