An adequate effort from Tim Burton, but overall nothing outstanding.
I realize as I write this that the greater problem more than likely doesn’t reside with Tim Burton’s approach to this YA bestseller and the argument towards his recent works that he’s jumped the shark or sold out, etc. but rather I think the problem lies with the story not being well written and the misguided pacing. If you’ve already seen this film and whether you agree/disagree with the above statement, you have to admit one thing; Tim Burton’s approach to telling visual stories has changed.
I remember these disdainful thoughts began to start after Alice in Wonderland was released. I just thought it was because maybe he had gone soft due to having children of his own and wanting them to a part of the group that see his movies. I know what you’re thinking…it’s a thin argument…I get it. But you cannot deny that something has changed within his approach to movie making.
It honestly affected how I went into Miss Peregrine’s. Despite having misses lately, I still found the draw of a Burton-esque spin on a YA novel appealing enough to pay money and see Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in the theaters. Sure, I understood I wasn’t sitting down for an R-rated affair in a world that would make Edward Scissorhands proud, and yet, I still came expecting something darker than what was presented. Albeit to say, it wasn’t horrible, just underwritten and slightly off in pacing.
The first act of the film seemed to drag on for quite some time to the extent where my mind began to wander and think about how the book series probably does a much better job of explaining the world I was seeing on screen(I know, I know…the book is always better). To me, it just seemed to take a long time setting up the fact that Jake, the story’s protagonist, has an eccentric grandfather, lives in a mundane world with parents who barely notice him, have something traumatic happen in his life to then change scenery in an effort to remedy Jake’s emotions, discover a new world with Miss Peregrine helping guide him….etc….etc…..etc……..I’ve not only explained the first half of the film I’ve also checked every box that every single Young Adult novelist chooses to put into their work. And maybe that was the frustrating thing for me in this film… Maybe you can tell that I’m struggling to pinpoint just where my frustrations lie; Burton, the writing or the pacing. Honestly, it’s a mixture of all three. It just got under my skin quickly that Miss Peregrine’s went from something that could have been a peek into a unique world to just meeting every YA movie/novel trope beat for beat.
In simpler words; it was just a bland movie. Not a bad one, but not a good one either. Therein lies my issue with it. I wanted it to be something. Whether that was a bad movie or a good one, be something! I walked out of the theater and just thought it was alright and nothing bothers me more than a lack of emotions, questions or thoughts after watching a movie. A bandmaster (yeah, you read that correctly) once told me, “If you’re going to fail, fail big.” and it seemed that Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children just chose to play it safe rather than take chances which lead it to being just an okay movie.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – 2 Garys