The latest YA novel to be adapted into a movie is Ransom Riggs’ ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.’ The adaptation, directed by Tim Burton and starring French actress Eva Green in the role of the titular head mistress of a creaky old Gothic boarding house on an island off the coast of Ireland, is as oddly peculiar as its name would suggest. Best characterized as a dark fantasy/horror film for teenagers, the movie features children possessing powers or unique characteristics including a girl who’s lighter than air, a fire starter, an invisible boy, a creator/animator of creepy objects, a girl with Popeye-like strength and another girl who has a gaping maw filled with sharp teeth on the back of her head. Weird, huh? What sick and twisted mind thinks up of this stuff, Ransom Riggs?
Not having read the book, I enjoyed MPHFPC more than I probably would have had I read it. The tale combines dark fantasy with gothic elements and sci-fi; the whole conceit of the movie is that these people exist in a time-loop that restarts every day right before a German bomber plane destroys their home during WWII. Can you imagine living the same day over and over, even if you try to live them differently each time? Like clockwork, Miss Peregrine winds her pocket watch back each day on the hour so that she and her children can live on in blissful happiness forever. But there has to be more to the story, you say? It just so happens that Miss P and her precious charges are pursued by the sinister Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) and his cohort, immortal Wights with an army of giant stick-like ‘Hollows” who seek to regain their human form by consuming the eyes of children, the more peculiar the better.
Refreshing and entertaining, MPHFPC is also stylish and atmospheric as we would expect from a Tim Burton film. If I have to characterize the movie, I would say it has a decidedly creepy Lovecraftian eldritch vibe and should appeal to those who like their fantasies a bit off the beaten path by way of the twisted and the macabre.