October 5, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Review

Nope. Haven't seen any clowns around here.

The weird downward creative trajectory of Tim Burton’s career says strange things about the current state of artistry in Hollywood. The blockbuster success of 1989’s Batman paved the way for two of the former Disney animator’s most aggressive artistic statements, Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. The helming of a billion-dollar picture, Alice in Wonderland, has spawned a much more creatively fallow period that includes Dark Shadows, Big Eyes and Alice wannabe Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

After a family tragedy, teenager Jake Portman (Asa Butterfield) discovers that his late grandfather’s stories about a special orphanage in Wales—inhabited by Miss Peregrine (an exquisitely chipper Eva Green) and her peculiar children, like lighter-than-air Emma (Ella Purnell), invisible Millard, super-strong Bronwyn, the Masked Twins and Claire, who has a monstrous mouth on the back of her head—are all true. He also finds that he has the special ability to see the tentacled monsters called Hollows that, along with the Wights, led by Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson), threaten Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children. 

Miss Peregrine’s strengths are the sumptuous feats of visual magic Burton always gets right; even his worst movies achieve some manner of visual success. Burton still needs that special collaborator to carefully craft a narrative strong enough to compete with his dynamic visual talent. For all of Burton’s visual wizardry, the movie still cannot match the effectiveness of the most stunning aspect of Rigg’s book: the black-and-white found photos scattered throughout its pages.