A Lantern review of Tim Burton’s new 2016 film adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Sophie Epps and Hannah Singewald

‘Twas the opening night of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and all through the theatre, the only sound to be heard was the slurping of drinks with many sweeteners. Violins, drums, and flutes collaborated together to make one of the most dramatically enchanting songs, which helped set the beginning scene. Following his Grandpa Portman’s historical legends, Jacob Portman is led on an expedition of a lifetime. Under the supervision of his father, Jacob navigates his way from Florida to Cairnholm, an island off of Wales, where he enters Miss Peregrine’s loop consisting of the date September 3rd, 1943. In the film, Miss Peregrine explains to Jacob that a loop can preserve the last twenty-four hours, reset the loop and you can relive any date in time, forever. After successfully finding the loop, he discovers peculiar children in Miss Peregrine’s home who have unique abilities. Their abilities ranged from pyrokinetics, which is the ability to control fire, to having strength as great as ten men. One character that brought this movie to life was Alma LeFay Peregrine, a Ymbryne that could manipulate time and shape shift into a peregrine bird. Throughout the movie, we continuously see her puffing lightly on an old fashioned wooden pipe that would fill the air around her with a tad of white smoke. Being omniscient, she brings a amusing quality to the movie that adds to the list as of why this story is so unique.                                                        peregrins-gallery6press release photo

An electronic retro elephant that comes to life, ‘slender man’ creatures that people can’t even see, and an underwater hideout hidden inside a sunken ship; unsurprisingly, this film has truly outdone itself. Tim Burton’s new movie adaptation brings Ransom Riggs’ 2013 novel alive with numerous unique features. Eva Green portrays the character, Miss Peregrine, Asa Butterfield adopts the lead role of Jacob Portman, and Samuel L. Jackson embraces his Hollowgast head chief role. Besides the fact that Tim Burton directs this movie, several well known actors and actresses promoted high-popularity rates for the movie. Most films that have first originated from a novel usually don’t follow the novel completely and there were distinct differences between Riggs’ novel and Burton’s film. In particular, two of the children named Emma Bloom and Olive Abroholos Elephanta had their peculiarities switched. Pyrokinetics, a talent normally given to Emma Bloom, was handed over to Olive in the movie while the ability to manipulate air, aero kinetics, is controlled by Emma in the movie. Furthermore, The Priest Hole, the only hotel on the island that Jacob and his father stay at, is described in the novel as having no traces of internet or television while in the movie, modern flat screen TV’s hang in the corner of almost every other wall.    

From the short span of time that this film has been released, there are already several critics that are acting like teeter totters, not knowing if they love the movie as much as they should. A podcaster, Chris Hewitt, from Empire, an online site that reviews new movies, broadcasted, “While it’s neither as dark, funny nor peculiar as you’d expect from Tim Burton, there’s still much here to admire.” The Atlantic’s associate editor Lenika Cruz also points out, “But perhaps most lacking in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is something the best children’s movies always have—a genuine emotional center.” Agreeing with some adult critics who thought the movie didn’t live up to it’s full potential, a teenager’s viewpoint shows this movie also needed to add just a little bit more. Sophomore Abbey Barrett concluded, “I thought it was really good until the end because the tone changed, but the music was good.”