In Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is an 'over-stuffed' film

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (2016)

Director: Tim Burton. 12a.


After the sudden, violent and unexplained death of his grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp), teenager Jake (Asa Butterfield) and his father (Chris O’Dowd) go on a father-son bonding holiday to an island off the coast of Wales, where Abe lived as a young man.

Abe had filled Jake’s head as a child with stories of the children with special powers who had lived in a home there, run by a mysterious woman named Miss Peregrine. Once there, Jake quickly discovers the home and finds Peregrine (Eva Green) and the children still there and very much as Abe had left them 70 years before.

They do indeed have special powers and are stuck in a time ‘loop’, constantly re-starting to live in the past to escape the clutches of the cannibalistic ‘hollows’ monsters, lorded over by the insane Barron (Samuel L. Jackson). It’s up to Jack to help rid the children forever from Baron and his kind.

Review by Jason Day
Tim Burton opens the doors to his 'world of weird' once more, with this big-screen adaptation of the Ransom Riggs book of the same.

Fans of his will whoop it up at the plethora of paranormal and peculiar he has lined up to out-odd anything he has done before. But this is part of the problem with the film.

He and his screenwriter have over-stuffed the story. This is fine for a book, where the author has pages and pages of words to fully nuance the narrative. But in a 2 and a bit hours long film, it comes across as a garbled, incident and description overloaded script. Eventually, especially if one is not familiar with the source material, it becomes tiresome.

That said, the look and style of the film is top-notch, particular note going to the production designer for the incredible sunken ocean liner which provides some memorable set pieces. 

Eva Green (who may well be Burton's new muse after his divorce from Helena Bonham-Carter) is a sensual and comic lead, the only member of the cast who seems to appreciate that the film is a bit of a laugh.

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Cast & credits
Director: Tim Burton. 127mins. Twentieth Century Fox/Chernin/Scope/St. Petersburg Clearwater/Tim Burton.
Producers: Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping.
Writer: Jane Goldman.
Camera: Bruno Delbonnel.
Music: Michael Higham, Matthew Margeson.
Sets: Gavin Bocquet.
Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel J. Jackson, Judi Dench, Rupert Everett, Allison Janney, Chris O’Dowd, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Finlay Macmillan, Lauren McCrostie.