I’m not sure that movie reviews are going to be a staple feature on my blog, mostly because I’m weird about movies and tend to get bored halfway through and want to move onto something else, but I figured it might be fun to talk about sometimes.
Since I just posted my review of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (the book), I thought it’d be fitting to talk about the movie while it’s still fresh in my mind. This review will contain spoilers, so please stop reading or proceed cautiously if you don’t want anything spoiled.
The movie starts out with a bit of backstory in which the protagonist, Jake (Asa Butterfield), is shown pictures and told stories by his grandfather, Abe (Terrence Stamp), about a home for peculiar children that Abe used to live in, run by Miss Peregrine (Eva Green). The older Jake gets, the less he believes these stories, until his grandfather suddenly dies and Jake comes face to face with something horrifying.
He is sent to therapy to cope, and after getting a birthday present from his late grandfather, he and his father (Chris O’Dowd) set off to a small island off the coast of Wales so that Jake can discover the truth about his grandfather’s stories.
The first half of the movie was pretty fast paced in which Jake met Miss Peregrine and the peculiars, who were charming but didn’t get much of a chance to shine. I didn’t really like the fact that they changed Emma and Olive’s powers for the movie, although I understand why it had to be done to make some later scenes work. I liked Ella Purnell as Emma. She looked perfectly ethereal in her blue dress while floating in the air. I felt that she was a bit more firey in the book, personality-wise and literally with the fire power, and I missed that. I did like her shoes, though. I wouldn’t mind a pair of those myself, as long as they didn’t weigh as much as they did in the movie. 😉
I wanted more time getting to know the kids and Miss Peregrine. I really liked Miss Peregrine in the book, but in the movie I felt like she was there for one minute and gone the next. Judi Dench was on screen for a brief moment as Miss Avocet, which was a tiny role and seemed like a waste of her talent, but I guess even a little cameo is nice.
The second half of the movie is where it started to go downhill for me. Samuel L. Jackson shows up as Mr. Barron, the shapeshifter who has deceived Jake by posing as his therapist and we find out he led the hollow to kill his grandfather, Abe, in the beginning of his movie. Mr. Barron takes Miss Peregrine and other ymbrynes (women who can manipulate time and turn into birds, and overseers of peculiar children to protect them) to perform an experiment try to achieve immortality for himself.
I’m pretty open-minded when movies stray from the books, but I just couldn’t stay on board once they got to the amusement park. It felt like an excuse to use a bunch of CGI, like with the skeleton fight scene. I liked Enoch (Finlay MacMillan) in the movie, but I felt like his struggles in the books with his power, being a dead-riser, felt a lot more believable than all of a sudden commanding an entire skeleton army to do his bidding against the hollows.
I won’t spoil the ending completely, but I thought it felt pretty farfetched and did not go in the direction I thought it would. It strayed a lot from the ending of the book, but I haven’t read the second book yet so maybe it’d still be a good set up for the next movie (if they make another one).
Overall, the movie left me wanting something. Everyone was likeable enough, except Mr. Barron, of course, but I felt like it lacked the charm and depth that the book had. I was so invested in the characters while I was reading the book, but I thought a lot of them felt pretty flat in the movie. The acting was believeable, though, and I liked the cinematography. The town Jake and his dad visit and the house Miss Peregrine and the children live in were exactly how I pictured them. My husband (who has not read the book) thought the movie was good. It seems that the movie is easier to accept when you’re not comparing it to everything that goes on in the book. I still think it’s worth a watch, but I did not like it as much as I hoped I would, and definitely not as much as I liked the book.
Have you seen the movie? How did you feel about it?