For Reel

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
October 8, 2016, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Tim Burton
2 Stars
miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-childrenWhat makes Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children stand out among other YA properties is its setting—an infinitely looping day in 1943 wherein an orphanage will be bombed by the Nazis. And yet, to the residents of the eponymous home, this moment in time is their refuge from the horrors that endlessly stalk them. Miss Peregrine’s (Eva Green) welcoming (albeit haunted) demeanor is at odds with the ever-looming threat, her children stiff-upper-lipping their way through imminent destruction. Tim Burton’s adaptation of the material maintains some of this intriguing sense of deathliness (particularly with the appearance of a boy who can make everything, including dead bodies, take life), but Asa Butterfield’s Jake might as well be a walking corpse, visibly attempting to overcome an American accent and losing any sense of his character’s interiority. Worse yet, a finale that literally becomes a funhouse destroys the sense of stakes from the material—if Samuel L. Jackson is an inspired choice to play the film’s Mr. Baron, Burton allows him to indulge his comedic chops as he delivers stale threats to children who outsmart him at every turn. The climactic battle devolves into a ridiculous show-and-tell in which mildly concerned children show off their superpowers at the expense of idiotic, bumbling villains.

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