Annie Lindenberg ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children centers around Jake, a teenage boy played by Asa Butterfield who, after the death of his grandfather, is thrust headfirst into a mystery spanning different worlds and times. He meets Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) and all the peculiar children in her care who hold unique abilities such as floating or superhuman strength. As he delves further into this new and eerie world, Jake’s journey becomes more bizarre and, consequently, all the more dangerous.
It’s important to first note that, while the film holds tonal similarities and overall ties to the book, the two are separate entities. This isn’t to say fans of the book won’t enjoy the movie, but for those looking for an exact adaption, this isn’t it. If a viewer can set that aside, however, they may just be in for a good time.
Something Peregrine benefits from is the films use of 3D. While sometimes 3D can either be distracting or add nothing to the film, that isn’t the case here. Instead it helps perpetuate the tone and story; by feeling the greater dimension in the scenes it emphasizes the grandness and sometimes otherworldliness or unsettling aspects of the movie. The movie feels alive and breathing.
While overall the movie flows well, there are times the dialogue feels clunky or unrealistic. With the amount of backstory and explanation necessary for a film of this nature, it’s understandable for their to be some bumps, but it feels odd there was no way to find better alternatives than the awkward lines used. The second half of the movie seems to solve this problem fairly well, most likely because the viewer is now solidly in the story, but also because of the span of talented actors the movie has working for it.
With names like Samuel L. Jackson, Judi Dench, Allison Janney, and Terence Stamp there is a lot of expectation from the performances one is to see. For the most part the actors fall well into the characters they are meant to play. They dissolve themselves into the heavily characterized roles so that a viewer truly feels like they are watching a story play out and not simply watching famous actors playing themselves or some tired stereotype. At moments Eva Green’s Miss Peregrine seems not fully formed or trying too hard to be, well, peculiar, but on the majority she adds a powerful performance to a solid cast.
Asa Butterfield does an excellent job leading this film, and he plays well against all of his fellow actors. While Emma (Ella Purnell) is a fine enough character to counterbalance Jake, the romance between the two of them feels tired and lackluster. There doesn’t seem to be enough between the two of them that strengthens their bond and feels natural. Their connection is cute, but ultimately doesn’t add much to the overall story.
In its entirety, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a mysterious, thrilling joy ride filled with solid actors, a comprehensible (if sometimes clunky) script, and enough magic and wonder to keep any child or adult entertained. Though not flawless or identical to the book, Miss Peregrine’s is still most definitely worth a watch.
Overall Grade: B
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