Burton's movie peculiar

Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children – X-Men Light

Miss Peregrine’s School For Peculiar Children is awful and it didn’t have to be.

Tim Burton has been in the film business for almost 40 years and his name has become synonymous with clever, creative and whimsical films.

He is the genius who wrote Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas in the early 1990s, but  appears to be losing his edge.

Burton has not produced anything noteworthy since his daring 2007 Sweeney Todd and this latest offering, Miss Peregrine’s School For Peculiar Children, appears to be nothing more than moldy meat for Hollywood’s sausage grinder.

The story, based on the young adult novel by Ransom Riggs revolves around hapless 16 year-old Jacob (Asa Butterfield – Hugo) who discovers clues to a mystery that stretches across time.

When his beloved, but senile grandfather, Abe (Terence Stamp), is mysteriously murdered, Jacob travels from his home in Florida to an island in Wales in search of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children as his grandfather had requested.

The mystery deepens once he meets the unusual children who live there and learns of the constant danger they live in. Jacob comes to realize his gifts and his purpose as he mounts an attack on the monsters who threaten the survival of his friends.

The children are a motley crew of X-Men Light: a girl who requires lead shoes to walk lest she float away, a boy who can animate objects, a girl who can start fires with her fingertips and a boy who is filled with bees to name a few.

Their guardian and sworn protector is Miss Peregrine (Eva Green – Casino Royale). Miss Peregrine smokes a pipe, can change into a bird and has the ability to create time loops, which is where they reside.

Eva Green is a competent actress who plays the role with a mischievous smirk. She is a bad-ass Mary Poppins with a cross bow. Her character is a master of control and a great role model for girls with the exception of the pipe smoking.

The villain responsible for their misery is a shape-shifting ghoul named Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) who has sworn to hunt down peculiars. Jackson plays this character with his usual enthusiasm, but we never learn anything more about him than the fact that he’s a bad guy.

Asa Butterfield is likeable and bland as the unlikely hero, but Ella Purnell is hauntingly memorable and I predict we will see more from this young actress.

There is ample material here for Burton to explore his penchant for the macabre and when his imagination runs wild, the film is at its most interesting.

It is, however, disappointing that the only actor of colour in this film pays the villain, which just comes off as racist. Burton had an opportunity to create an interesting and diverse group of children and he chose not to. It is 2016, Tim, and we expect better.

Special effects and lush cinematography combine with a beautiful set and creative art design which could have resulted in an entertaining movie if the characters weren’t one-dimensional and the story wasn’t so confusing.

The monsters after the children gain their power feeding on the eyeballs of “peculiars”, especially children and are actually quite terrifying.

This film was made for adolescents so if you have any children younger than ten, I would recommend that you miss this one as there are a few scenes that are the stuff nightmares are made of.

I give this film 2 out of 5 stars.

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About the Author

Kim Foreman-Rhindress is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and London Western Conservatory of music for piano and voice. 

Kim has been performing in theatre and film for over 30 years in Canada, NYC, Palm Beach, Los Angeles, and the Netherlands. She has written several plays which have been produced in Canada and the U.S., and is the founder of Kelowna Voice Lab - helping people find their voice, be it singing or acting. 

A working musician, she performs regularly in Kelowna with her husband, Jim Rhindress, in an acoustic duo Smitten, and with her vintage trio Kitsch 'n Sync.  

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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