Hello, Spongey here.
Time to return to live action for our general reviews. Today we got one I kind of want to just jump into since I don’t have much to say, but I kind of need an intro. Like pretty much everyone else, I was interested in this one due it being a Tim Burton film.
I haven’t seen a ton of his films, but what I’ve seen has mostly been gone. I’ve managed to avoid the weaker ones it seems. He’s well known for his style but it also makes him infamous since his style does get tiring especially in later films where there’s some style over substance going on, among other problems.
But at least they usually look pretty, and lately he has been getting his mojo back. I really liked Frankenweenie and I hear Big Eyes is pretty good too. Thus, I was interested in this one when I saw the trailer.
It’s based on a book series I’ve never heard of but it had a neat premise. Everyone jokes about it being like X-Men and that’s exactly why I was interested, because Tim Burton’s X-Men sounds like an amazing idea, if done right of course.
So far, the reception has been pretty eh but was so the reception for Storks so I won’t put too much stock in that. I’m excited to see how this turns out.
As for our writer, she has written Kingsmen and is also credited on…two X-Men movies….That explains a lot.
With that short intro out of the way, is Tim Burton’s latest as awesome as it sounds or is it not good? Yeah, didn’t want to do a lame school pun. Let’s just find out.
This, is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Skipping production this time, not much to say and I just wanna get the important stuff. Spoilers, a Tim Burton movie looks nice.
When tragedy strikes close to home, 16-year-old Jacob “Jake” Portman is forced to travel to an island in Wales filled with mystery in order to discover the truth of what really happened. Jake’s ordinary life takes an extraordinary turn as the childhood fairytales he heard from his grandfather start to become more plausible. After stumbling into what seems to be a different world, Jake is introduced to the extraordinary Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children at Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But when what seems to be a fairy tale takes a horrific turn, Jake is forced to make a life-altering decision in order to protect the ones he loves from the monsters of his grandfather’s past, the creepy Hollows and the dangerous Wights led by the terrifying Mr. Barron.
I said before that this was based on a book, and I figured that wouldn’t factor too much into anything. This seemed like a Tim Burton that happened to be based on a book. Instead it’s a…YA movie that happens to be made by Tim Burton.
That’s not a bad thing in itself, it’s closer to Harry Potter than Divergent. However, this does come with the problems this sub-genre can have. It’s on the better aside, because overall the writing isn’t bad…but I can’t call it great either.
You have a regular kid whose life has problems, and things get better when he finds out about this crazy world he has connections to, but a bad guy comes to ruin that. Yeah, this is been done there done that sometimes.
It does manage to stick out sometimes, especially with the Tim Burton elements, most notably the children in the school and their powers. However, it stays typical in terms of narrative. Which would be fine if it focused more on the craziness than it did.
Instead, at least half of it focuses on the story elements and all the mythology, like a lot of films like this, there’s a lot that makes no sense or is just overly complicated. The best parts of the film heavily feature what you’ve come to see, children with weird powers doing their thing.
So parts like Jacob meeting the kid and parts of the 3rd act are decent enough with the creativity. However, too much of it focuses on story elements and Jabob who isn’t that interesting, which I’ll go into detail on in the next section.
To be fair, I can see this stuff not bothering people for most of it. Some will be engaged enough with the basic stuff going in to ignore what I’m pointing out. For me, I can forgive this when it’s about the fun stuff as the movie is better at being a Tim Burton movie than a YA movie.
And the film can’t quite balance both elements enough to make for a coherent script. Speaking of coherency, the film goes off the rails in the 3rd which is both good and bad. Good because then it becomes a lot more fun, as they show off the powers, giving us neat action scenes, and it just embraces it’s nature.
However, the plot gets a bit too convoluted around. See, this movie has time travel, very very confusing time travel. Can’t spoil anything but even the main time travel plot device this world is built upon raises too many questions.
This is also where some of my writing issues really become a problem, as characters aren’t given the development they need, and they randomly expect to care about one guy who did nothing up to that point…and after that bit they never bring it up again!
Oh, and since it’s a YA movie, there’s a rushed ending and sequel beg. Not a horrible one, but it still exists. To sum it up, the film works best when it’s focus on the weird side is simple, as it become enjoyable with the powers, and certain characters.
When it’s about the “normal” side with Jabob or goes too complex on the weird side, it can be too dull or too confusing. The writing is far from bad, and I’m willingly to forgive some of it, but this movie should have been more engaging than it was.
As it is, the story is either too simple or too confusing, and it just can’t quite keep up. However, the mythology can beat, it’s fun to see the powers, and there’s nothing too offensive here. It’s just kind of….average, honestly. Almost fine, almost weak, but it’s mostly…okay.
As I said, the main draw of this would be the strange characters, and….sometimes it delivers. Other times, not so much.
Sadly, the biggest example is the main character Jabob, played by Asa Butterfield. He’s a blank you are meant to project yourself onto, and while he’s not bad, he’s pretty boring. This is the kind of film where he’s supposed to special, but he’s not. He’s just dull with not much personality to speak of.
What he goes through isn’t even that special. At the start, his life is just first world problem-y aside from a tragic event, which doesn’t work because it happens way too early to fully care. He his moments, but overall, he’s just…meh.
Running our home is Miss Peregrine, played by Eva Green. Her character isn’t crazy interesting by the end, but she is enjoyable. Eva Green has a lot of fun with the role while still being believable when she needs to be. She stops really mattering by the end but for the most part, she’s fun enough.
Speaking of fun, our villain is Mr Barron, played by Samuel L Jackson. Character-wise he works well enough as the villain with his motivation and such. But he wouldn’t stand if it not for Sam Jackson just having a blast. He’s chewing the scenery in a good way, while still being creepy enough in some scenes.
He’s easily my favorite part in terms of pure enjoyment.
Then we have our children. The most notable one is Emma Bloom, who can control air and needs lead shoes to stay on the ground. She’s the main friend for Jacob and she works fine in that role, and they have cute moments together. She’s fine.
The others have about equal importance so I can rush through them. There’s the invisible one, the fire one, the one with bees inside them, and the one who hates Jacob for…reasons. Charecter-wise they don’t amount to much but they are fun with their various powers.
The one who hates Jabob is weird because he’s the one who hates the “Normie” but that’s as deep as it goes until a random bit near the end which goes nowhere. The kids are mostly fun with some standing out more than others.
And of course the rest that exist aren’t worth getting into. Like the Dad who is sometimes a dick, other times fine, and the Grandpa who I can’t go into without spoiling anything. They are okay but don’t leave too much of an impact, mostly.
The characters are overall mixed, with some being fun with their idea, and some being too bland or underdeveloped. But still, none of them suck so there you go.
Overall, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is just….okay. I’m slightly conflicted as mostly the problem aren’t too major, and I can see someone enjoying without caring about anything I say. The film can have fun with the idea, giving a few decent characters and fun performances. But it also has a lot of the “based on the book” problems, getting too complex with the story, and leaving a lot underdeveloped.
This all evens out to be an…Average film. It can be fun but it doesn’t have the writing to make it fully good. I’d recommend to those who don’t care quite as much about logic and can just enjoy some crazy stuff, as long they are willingly to through some boring parts.
Hardcore Tim Burton fans can enjoy this, not so much people who are mixed on him. It’s serviceable and has some very fun moments, but overall it needed work. Perhaps a sequel can improve, but we’ll see it it gets one.
So…yeah, it’s just okay.
Production: B (It looks pretty, although not crazy mind blowing save for a cool skeleton battle)
OVERALL: B- (Subject to change)
This is more of a BFG review in terms of how I wrote it, but as usual I hope I get my thoughts out there and you see what I mean. See, THIS deserves the 60 something on RT. As for next time….i have no idea.
Nothing in October looks that interesting, but maybe I’ll see them if they get good reviews. I want to do one general review per month so I need to pick something. Guess we’ll see what happen. In the meantime, Disney Sitcom Halloween coming tomorrow, Mostly Ghostly 3 a few days later. Should be fun.