As regular readers will know I was very excited for Tim Burton’s new fantasy adventure, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, as I included it on my Top 5 most anticipated films for 2016. However like most Tim Burton films of the last decade it has left me feeling hugely disappointed as such a talented director delivers a subpar film.
I don’t think that most of the problems with the film are to be laid solely at Burton’s door. Instead Jane Goldman’s screenplay gets bogged down by the need for vast amounts of exposition to explain what’s happening, and who everyone is. This really makes the story go at an exceedingly slow pace with huge amounts of information being thrown at you. The fact that the story actually follows a fairly simple young adult story that hits a lot of the clichés you’d expect, especially the main character being an ordinary kid who discovers they are special.
Obviously Tim Burton is a director who is known for spectacular visuals. Even the less successful end of his filmography looks fantastic. And once again that proves to be the case here with Burton showing of his flare for great visuals. He really does succeed in giving each time setting, be it 1943 or modern day, it’s own distinctive feeling and look.
One of the things that had me most excited for the film was Eva Green’s presence, she always manages to be good even in films that aren’t, and she is again here, however she ends up with a fairly minimal role. It also stars the extremely talented young actor Asa Butterfield in the main role, but he doesn’t particularly shine, as his character is a fairly uninteresting and bland one.
Samuel L. Jackson plays the villain, a Hollow named Barron, and whilst what little we saw of him in the trailer looked rather intimidating in the actual film Jackson hams it up and really never feels threatening at all. His performance isn’t bad, but the direction they took his character was quite disappointing.
The finale of the film really falls flat. Whilst it is meant to be the most dramatic moment of the film it actually ends up being a fairly anticlimactic ending. There doesn’t feel like there are any real stakes in it, and you don’t feel any true threat, not helped by Jackson’s non threatening villain. It also falls back on things that we’ve seen numerous times before. Without wanting to give any spoilers there is a particularly clichéd moment that I thought was only still done in parody, yet it finds its way into the ending here.
Whilst Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children does have some good moments and looks fantastic, it has actually ended up being yet another disappointment from Burton. It is by no means a terrible film, but it is still below what we want and know Burton is capable of delivering.