Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - 'a bit like X-Men's Xavier Institute'

We had the Twilight Saga. We had The Hunger Games­. We even had Divergent and The Maze Runner. Now, to add to the list of YA (young adult) book-to-screen adaptations is (drum roll please)… Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, based on Ransom Riggs' novel of the same title and directed by Tim Burton, who's known for his gothic, dark movies and adds something fresh to the YA market – it can also be seen to be influenced by various other movies, while largely following the original novel.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - 'a bit like X-Men's Xavier Institute'

Welcome to Florida 2016, aka Sunny State, the home of Abe Portman (Terence Stamp), who has told stories to his grandson Jacob 'Jake' (Asa Butterfield) about his time living in a home on a Welsh island 'for special children' run by Eva Green's Miss Peregrine, the titular character, with residents including a girl who is weightless, an invisible boy (Shhh! The actor who played this character wore a blue suit underneath his costume to create the invisibility effect) and a girl with a mouth at the back of her head. When Abe dies one evening, he leaves Jake with a series of clues that take him and his father (Chris O'Dowd) to the Welsh island; this is where Jake discovers these mutant children and their headmistress (a bit like X-Men's Xavier Institute) by way of an entrance to a 'loop', which continuously repeats 3rd September 1943 (Groundhog Day's coming), the day that there's an air raid (why they had to change the year from 1940 in the books to a few years forward in the film was not, I repeat, NOT necessary!). This gives the residents immortality, but at a cost – if anyone is outside the loop, in the present day, for too long, they age forward by seventy years and subsequently die. Boo hoo.

As Jake gets to know the peculiars and Miss P (who can transform into a peregrine falcon, which reminded me of the Animagi in Harry Potter), he learns of their enemy, Samuel L Jackson's Barron, who leads a band of peculiars with white irises (wights) who feast on the eyes of peculiar children, along with multiple-tongued monsters called hollows. He also finds out that he has his own power, the ability to see hollows, thanks to the weightless girl Emma (Ella Purnell); she and the other children can only see their shadows. When Miss Peregrine is taken away by Barron, Jake and his friends go on a mission to present-day Blackpool to rescue her and fight his cronies.

The best thing about this film was the special effects, especially the fighting skeletons in the Blackpool scene (stunt men were used initially, before the skeletons themselves were created by special effects company Double Negative) and the ship rising from the sea. In addition, this film showed how children can be heroes and collaborate to defeat evil by using their abilities, before it finishes on what probably constitutes as a cliff hanger. Despite the ending being different to the novel, I really hope that the second and third novels are also adapted for the big screen to see what Jake and company get up to next. While some parts are slightly scary, I definitely recommend this movie for viewers of all ages.


Faron Spence-Small

Faron Spence-Small

Avid reader of sci-fi fantasy books, enthusiast of spy-action movies, Marvel and DC. Currently attempting to write a sci-fi fantasy novel.

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