Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Tim Burton movies are a mixed bag. While they follow a very particular, similar style, their themes and successful execution is wildly varied. For every Edward Scissorhands or Big Fish, there is a Planet of the Apes. Thankfully, Burton’s new opus Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is without a doubt part of the former category and stands to be remembered as another one of his classics.

Based on the bestselling book, Jacob (Asa Butterfield) discovers Miss Peregrine’s (Eva Green) home for children who don’t fit in with the regular world. They have strange powers (flight, invisibility and others far more bizarre) and are learning to control them. But there is a sinister force coming for them, and Jacob and new allies must figure out a way to keep the darkness at bay.

This movie is basically what would happen if Harry Potter and the X-Men went trick or treating together in a particularly lush, but dangerous neighborhood. As with most of Mr. Burton’s films, this one is visually stunning. The special effects, while at times overwhelming, are necessary for a this film, which has a subtle scope and grandiose purpose. The children/creatures (though it is hard to differentiate between them sometimes) are as imaginative as one would expect from this group of filmmakers (and from the source material, the bestselling novels). It is at times whimsical and terrifying, and when things get dark, they get dark.

Eva Green is perfectly cast as Miss Peregrine, looking very much like her character from the TV series Penny Dreadful, but that is fine as it is exactly what this movie calls for. She is a stunning porcelain mystery and really defines the feel of the picture. And this is no small feat, as there are some very heavy hitters in the cast including Judy Dench, Rupert Everett, Terrence Stamp and Samuel L. Jackson in a villainous role not to be missed. And the chemistry between Asa Butterfield and Ella Purnell (as a girl with severe gravity issues) is delightful.

This film is definitely a children’s movie made for adults. It is at times very intense and the peril the characters face is no joke. But there is real warmth underneath the oddities that has been lacking or forced in some of Burton’s other attempts at whimsy (most notably the dreadful Alice in Wonderland series). And without giving too much away, the events depicted take an unusual stance on the relationship between us as people and time itself.

Needless to say, this one should be seen in the theater. It will find a home in most personal libraries when it has finished its theatrical run, no doubt, but for sheer fun and a very Gothic good time, grab a fellow Peculiar and head down to the movie house to check out this refreshing, creepy gem.