Film: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Cast: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Judi Dench, Samuel L Jackson
Director: Tim Burton
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children isn't Tim Burton's return to grace. It isn't even one of his kooky, brooding diamonds in the rough. It's just a confused film. I must admit I've always admired the dark subtext and morbid humour that Burton packs into his work, but this time it was just plain painful.
Jake Portman is your average Florida teen with one difference: he still visits his grandad Abe Portman at his retirement home. Until the day when he's killed by a monster without a face, a couple of tentacles and lots of sharp appendages.
His last words are to find Miss Peregrine's Home on 1943. So far, so good.
While this ties into Abe's bedtime tales to Jake about how he grew up at the home with an invisible kid, a blonde who would fly away without leaden boots, a pint sized female version of Hercules and others, Jake's parents send him to therapy. When his therapist suggests they head to the site to put all these stray fantasies to bed, it's adventure time.
And what of the mysterious Miss Peregrine? Eva Green is pert, emphatic and cheerful as she essays the prim keeper of the kids and gives Jake an orientation to their world. But when the rest of the script is as tattery as this one is, there's only so much that she can do. You've got to feel for her, really. In fact, you've got to feel for most of the cast - which includes the likes of Samuel L Jackson and Judi Dench. Talk about talent gone abegging.
Burton's idea of creating entire universes with weird monsters, time-space loops and seriously outlandish places to use pop culture is sound. It's the execution that's choppy, illogical and chaotic, at its best. As Jake threads in and out of two worlds and learns about how his grandfather was a hunter of a gang of bounty hunters hunting peculiar kids (that's what the ones with powers call themselves), you find yourself losing your handle on reality. But not in a good way. Not by a long shot.
Unless you're so deeply into fantasy fiction that you can stand a terrible story, I'd suggest you give Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children a miss.