Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children - See the Monsters
| When I first read Ransom Riggs' novel Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children I couldn't help but imagine what Tim Burton's film version would look like. His characteristic style of monsters filled my head. This was long before it was announced that Burton would be directing the film adaptation. It was just such a natural fit that it was impossible not to see it. And it turns out I was right. Burton is the perfect artist to bring this world to life.
Burton's work is all over the map. Sure there are the disastrously clumsy Dark Shadows, the overblown Alice, to the just-not-quite Planet of the Apes remake. But there are also the pitch perfect Sweeney Todd, the remarkably deft Big Eyes, and the lovely Frankenweenie. And there are the masterpieces Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Edward Scissorhands. For a long time there hasn't been as good a fit for the Burton of Scissorhands as Peregrine.
He truly found the spirit of the novel. The very thinly drawn analogy Nazi hunting, Peregrine is about being different, being persecuted for being different, and finding sanctuary. There are monsters in the world, and the Hollows of Burton's vision are just nightmare enough to be taken seriously, while just fantastic enough to be the stuff that dreams are made of.
Burton's film is damn creepy, and completely lovely; just the right balance. As always he finds the beauty in the odd and exposes the horrors just beneath the surface. Like a carnival David Lynch, his film is unsettling yet comfortable. Peregrine's home is like Hogwarts for the even more marginalized. The underwater shipwreck scene is a thing of absolute beauty. I felt Burton's chocolate factory was so much closer to my dreams than Mel Stuart's and here Burton once again captures my imagination.
But, true to the novel, the film rushes the fairly overwrought climax. When I read the book it felt like Riggs didn't know quite how to pull the rabbit out of the hat and for me the film didn't fix that. I would have loved a bit more sinister wrap up. But it isn't enough to ruin what remains a lovely, enjoyable, and just off-putting enough of a film to remind me why I've remained a Burton fan through thick (Ed Wood) and through thin (Big Fish).