Friday 14 October 2016

Film: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children'

Really oughtn't to have exerted myself to see this Tim Burton latest, based on contemporary writing by one Ransom Riggs. 

Aware that it was well outside of my usual kind of film, I thought that it might make for a pleasant change. Well, if any change there was, it wasn't in providing entertainment which someone of my age and tastes can appreciate.   

19 year-old Asa Butterfield (he of 'Hugo', 'The Boy in Striped Pajamas', 'Son of Rambow' - and here playing five or six years younger than he actually is), lives in Florida with parents and grandfather (father, Chris O'Dowd and grandpa Terence Stamp), where the latter intrigues him with stories about a large house in Wales where mysterious forces are at work.  So, father being an ornithologist, both go off to visit the place, his dad ostensibly going on a bird-watching expedition.
By himself, the boy looks for the house, only to find it a crumbling, overgrown ruin. On entering the derelict he finds himself being spied upon by a number of mysterious children and, eventually getting to talk to one of them, finds out that the entire building is now preserved in original condition within a time-loop of repeating one single day in 1943 (German bombers overhead) in 'Groundhog Day' style, managed by the pipe-smoking lady owner of this 'home', (Eva Green) who winds back the portable master clock daily at a specific time so the day can run again and again, though in this case they're not tied to having to repeat the same actions ad infinitum
There are ten resident children, each with unique powers or characteristics, such as one boy being invisible (only seen by his moving, apparently empty, clothes), another a young girl with super-human strength, another being an older girl who's so light that she'd float away were it not for the heavy shoes she has to wear to anchor her to earth. Then there's a boy whose body is inhabited by a swarm of bees which he can let out orally at will to cause havoc, and so on.  
The idyllic existence of the children is threatened by  a group of metamorphosing, tentacled monsters led by Samuel L. Jackson. In fact it's the guest appearances in this film that helped to engender the minimal interest I had in it . In addition to the aforementioned Terence Stamp there's Rupert Everett and, in a brief contribution that she probably knocked off in an hour or less, Judi Dench.

The final special effects-laden confrontation in which Samuel L. Jackson dominates as arch-enemy, takes place in a funfair at the end of a Blackpool pier. One can guess beforehand that all of the children will, in turn, get to use the particular power which each possesses.

This is clearly intended as a kids' film, though maybe not for those under, say, ten, as some of the scenes are graphic and gory., while the older ones will just lap it up. I found it pretty standard fayre for this kind of film. Tim Burton's trademark visions are here though perhaps slightly more muted than one usually expects from him. 
Oh, there is one bonus. Unlike Mr Burton's recent projects, this one does not feature wifey, Helluva Bon-bon Carthorse!

For its target audience I should have thought that going over two hours was pushing it a bit. It tired me out somewhat. But I think that if it's the kind of film you're inclined to feel favourably towards, then you're probably going to be rather more impressed than I was...............5.


  1. This looks interesting, LOOKS, but I will wait for TV as I'd hate to waste the $$$ on it.

    1. It probably IS interesting for younger audience members, Bob. I'm aware of some quite good reviews. Perhaps I'm not young-at-heart enough. You may well be.

  2. You know me Ray, I think I might like this more than you. Although, going to the cinema is super expensive, I will therefore add this to my list to watch on DVD.

    1. Actually, that was EXACTLY what I'd been thinking, Sol (that it might be more to your taste than mine) but thought it better to leave you to say it first. I'm quite sure that you'd give it a higher rating than I did so do try to see it in some format.
      Btw: I managed to view it at a £3 matinee. I wouldn't have paid any more if that had been necessary.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. ronically, I was in a bookstore with my cousin a few days ago and I was actually looking at Ransome Rigg's books (with no intention to buy). I think his writing is over-rated, but intense publicity campaigns have made him famous.

      I'm surprised that a "Miss Peregrine" film was actually made - but I suppose there would be no one more suitable to make it than Tim Burton.
      Two hours seems incredibly long (for children) and the subject matter doesn't really appeal to me.
      Thanks for being courageous enough to sit through it, Ray. I appreciate the review.

    2. I messed up my first comment with typos, and my second comment should begin with "Ironically", not "ronically". Sorry!

    3. I'd not heard of Riggs before now, Jon, and was a bit surprised to find that not only is he a writer of today but he's still quite young (relative to some of us).
      Yes, if a film had to be made at all then Burton was the one to do it as he seems to be about the most able of current film-makers to interpret these flights-of-fancy stories as screen imagery. It's not a film that makes me curious enough t read Riggs in the original.

      Btw: I quickly 'got' your 'ronically', so I didn't lose any time in wondering "WTF"? or similar. :-)