After charming Shanghai this summer with the massive art exhibition, The World of Tim Burton, the acclaimed director is back to charm his Chinese fans with his newest film, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children.
The film adaptation of Ransom Rigg’s 2011 best-selling young adult novel mixes the gothic style of Burton’s early classics like Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas with a family-friendly heart akin to the director’s recent work on Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children starts off in the present where 16-year-old Jake is unhappily living an ordinary life. When his grandfather dies under suspicious circumstances, Jake recalls the childhood stories he was told about a mysterious school full of wondrous children on an island off Wales.
After convincing his father to take him to Wales, Jake eventually finds the school. This is when the film takes off as Burton adds his signature touch with the titular peculiar children who have amazing skills like invisibility, super strength, the ability to manipulate air and to resurrect the dead.
Eva Green (Casino Royale, Penny Dreadful) shines as the caring yet strict headmistress, Miss Peregrine, who has the ability to transform into a peregrine falcon. More importantly, she can manipulate time so that the school is able to keep repeating the same day in 1943 and avoid its real time destruction during World War II. She also rocks a very cool crossbow.
Threatening this world is the Wights - a subset of peculiars that have lost their human form after an experiment gone wrong. Samuel L. Jackson brings his signature bombast to the role as their shape-shifting leader who follows Jake to terrorize Miss Peregrine’s school.
While the story may sound complicated, the film does a great job visually explaining the world. The little ones may squirm at the sight of the Wights as they have a meal of eyeballs that allows them to remain a bit more human, but it’s a scene that pays off in the children’s thrilling final battle with these monstrous creatures.
Since opening across North America last month, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has been a huge hit. It has topped the box office in the United States, Canada, Russia, France, Mexico, Australia, Brazil and the Philippines, grossing more than USD259 million worldwide.
Already there are talks of a sequel, meaning this should be the first look in a very stylized world that could become Tim Burton’s own version of a Harry Potter-like film franchise.
In theatres now.