Tim Burton hasn’t been delivering on quality as he once was, so it’s become a rare occasion that he’s able to deliver on something genuinely entertaining. “Miss Peregrime’s” is one of the darkest Burton films ever directed, and while it’s touted toward children, it definitely skirts the edges quite often. That’s mainly due to the creepy villains that make a point of eating children’s eyes, amounting to some of the most horrific material in an otherwise darkly fantastic drama.
When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds a magical place known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers… and their powerful enemies. Ultimately, Jacob discovers that only his own special “peculiarity” can save his new friends.
Burton’s take on “Miss Peregrime’s” imagines a world stuck in a perpetual loop where they can never really find a way out of the tragedy that befalls them. When Jake finds the home for peculiar children, he finds a subset of society that thrives on weird, unique and sometimes menacing young children looking for their place in the world. Once Jake finds his place among the “peculiars,” he becomes the only thing standing between them and ultimate death at the hands of the Hollows. These are beings consumed by science that become monsters, and the only way they can survive is by eating the eyeballs of peculiars. They have the ability to remain invisible to the naked eye, and Burton takes advantage of their abilities and menacing presence very often.
There are some great unnerving scenes of unnerving tension, especially with Samuel L. Jackson who steals the film as the resident villain Barron. The cinematography is especially impressive, as Burton imagines such a bizarre and Gothic world that feels like an endless dream sequence. There’s great privilege with great powers, but the powers are also something of a burden within the confines of the universe established. Burton is able grab stellar performances from folks like Asa Butterfield, Eva Green, Chris O’Dowd and Ella Purnell, who is one of Burton’s loveliest cinematic female protagonists to date. “Miss Peregrime’s Home for Peculiar Children” certainly won’t win everyone over, but I enjoyed it a great deal for its originality, interesting ideas about time travel and subtle social commentary.