What It’s About: Time travel, spooky monsters, oddball youngsters and scary grown-ups come together in a fantastical adventure, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.”
Adapted from the young adult novel by Ransom Riggs, the dark fantasy focuses on a time loop during World War II. If time travel makes your head hurt, wrapping your mind around messing with time and space can be difficult, and the complex material eventually is quite dense.
The bedtime stories Jake’s grandpa told him were rather unusual, but it’s only after Abe (Terence Stamp) is in trouble that clues start coming together.
So Jake (Asa Butterfield) goes on an expedition to find out what his grandfather wanted him to know.
That journey takes him to an island off the coast of Wales, along with his clueless father Franklin Portman (Chris O'Dowd).
He encounters the mysterious and intriguing Alma LeFay Peregrine and the children with special powers that she is guardian for at her gothic home. Alma was a contemporary of Jake's grandfather.
The parallel universes are connected, and you'll find out why past and present are linked.
Performances: Eva Green ("Dark Shadows") is impressive as the exotic Miss Peregrine — turning heads and saving the day.
Asa Butterfield ("Hugo") perfectly embodies a young hero, and as Jake, has a believable close relationship with his grandpa.
As Barron, a really creepy leader of The Hollows, Samuel L. Jackson is frightening. When he chomps on eyeballs, it's probably too icky for young children definitely disgusting for us grown-ups, too.
What Works: The characters fascinate but is it special enough to stand out?
Tim Burton's trademark oddball style is well-suited for this film, but he reins in his vivid imagination.
Oh, his flourishes are still there, but he keeps within the lines.
What Doesn't Work: Fans of the book likely won't be too fond of screenwriter Jane Goldman's changes — condensing characters and adding sequences.
Yet, Goldman ("X-Men: First Class") has a pleasant way of depicting youthful innocence.
There are moments of magic and wonder, but there is also confusion, too.
However, throwing snowballs at the invisible monsters is a visual treat, and reminds one of Burton's special gifts.
Riggs wrote two more books, so it will be interesting to see if the series continues on screen.
“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”
Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris O’Dowd, Terence Stamp and Allison Janney