Tim Burton gets to show off his idiosyncratic visual imagination and his affinity for misfits and outsiders with fantasy adventure Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, adapted by Jane Goldman from Ransom Riggs’ bestselling young adult novel.
It isn't hard to see why the book would appeal to Burton. It’s full of those grotesque and creepy elements he loves. It also boasts a boggling plot, which means there is a fair amount of clanking and clunking of narrative gears before the story properly gets going
Yet when the young hero, present-day Florida teenager Jacob (played by English actor Asa Butterfield of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Hugo and Ender’s Game), gets to the Welsh orphanage of the title, a strange neo-Gothic pile that exists in a 1943 time loop, the film’s eccentricities prove irresistible.
Eva Green is typically enchanting as the pipe-smoking, crossbow-wielding, shape-shifting Miss Peregrine (her name’s the clue) and her strangely gifted young charges are equally eye-catching, among them Ella Purnell’s lighter-than-air Emma, who wears lead shoes to stop herself floating away. Samuel L Jackson gobbles eyeballs and chews the scenery as the story’s sinister villain.
Certificate 12A. Runtime 127 mins. Director Tim Burton
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is on general release.
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.