It’s hard to stay peculiar these days.
A Time magazine review said that Tim Burton had lost his magical touch, that the movie adaptation of Ransom Rigg’s YA novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children had “gnarled-vine logic” and no plot.
I beg to differ.The new movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was stunning, witty and managed to make the story so much MORE coherent and lively than the book it was based on.I wasn’t too impressed with the insanely hyped novel myself (to find out what I thought of the book, go back to this post).The gothic details and the concept of the book was cool, but the writing was disappointing.
Miss Peregrine’s Home by Peculiar Children is an adaptation of the Ransom Riggs book with the same title, directed by Tim Burton. It stars Asa Butterfield (best known for Hugo and Ender’s Game) and Ella Purnell (this elvish-looking 20-year-old that’s now my new fave) as the teenage protagonists, and Eva Green as the charming headmistress.
(scroll to the bottom to read the summary of the story if you don’t know it or need a recap 🙂 )
I went to watch the movie after I read the Times review, so I didn’t have high expectations. In fact, I just went to see it because I used to have a crush on Asa Butterfield in middle school. 😳😳
But I was blown away by the delicate and haunting prettiness of the movie. It was laced with Burton’s unique aesthetic and wit- Miss Peregrine hugging the pale dead body of Victor, who only wakes up from death when Enoch revives him; all the children and their headmistress standing, calmly watching bombs drop from the sky, and then winding back time right before the bomb hits the ground, with jolly 1940’s music playing on a phonograph.
Not only was it more vivid than the book, which was such a drag told from Jake’s perspective, but the movie also had a more coherent plot. The screenplay mushed in some plot of the second book of the series, Hollow City, including the children actually fighting the hollows. While the storyline of the book was just pretty with supernatural vintage photos and peculiar characters, the actual fighting in the movie made the plot wildly entertaining.
Granted, the first half of the movie didn’t have a good pace, and would be confusing for someone who hasn’t read the book, but as a whole the movie flowed. For me, the movie spoke to me more than the book.
Also, I think my crush on Asa Butterfield just came back.
The story is a mystical fantasy where Jake (played by Asa Butterfield) discovers an orphanage for a group of “gifted” kids who live eternally in one single day in 1943 over and over again, falls in love with Emma (Ella Purnell), the oldest of the peculiar children, and discovers that he’s peculiar himself. As they prepare for a battle against the evil and eye-devouring “hollowgasts”, Jake has to decide whether to return to his family, or to stay in 1943, trust the people he just met and own up to his peculiarity.