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Eva Green – Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine
Asa Butterfield – Jacob Portman
Judi Dench – Miss Esmeralda Avocet
Terence Stamp – Abraham Portman
Ella Purnell – Emma Bloom
Chris O’Dowd – Franklin Portman
Finlay MacMillan – Enoch O’Connor
Lauren McCrostie – Olive Abroholos Elephanta
Cameron King – Millard Nullings
Pixie Davies – Bronwyn Bruntley
My first thought: this movie is like a gothic Mary Poppins. Literally every element of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – looking after children, Green’s costumes and her characteristics as Miss Peregrine herself, going on adventures (if you can call them that) with children.. although you probably wouldn’t have caught Mary stood chugging on a tobacco pipe with quiffed hair. That’s one striking difference. And Green is practically perfect – yes, in every way.
You can tell that voice a mile off; nice and raspy, like a grandmother with a sore throat. The actress puts it to good use here also as she stands remarkably tall and well-postured, with those raspy tones flowing from that pale face and almost Joker-type mouth. Green couldn’t play it any better, the character fits her like a pair of pants fits a grinning guy who stands sighing with satisfaction in a department store changing room. Practically perfect. In every gothic way.
Asa Butterfield. Not the greatest choice of actor to play the role of a brave chap who discovers a mysterious world, and attempts to save the talented people he meets. Sorry, but the actor just doesn’t cut it. I could think of other guys to fill Jacob’s shoes perfectly; there are a few out there who shine nicely. Butterfield isn’t just boring to look at, he doesn’t bring a lot of dynamic to the role. Spending 80% of his screen time wandering around looking moody, the chap seems to mumble his way through the magical script and turn fantasty into friction. I didn’t like this at all.
As for the others:
Purnell is a brilliant addition to the cast; her naturally sweet features make her a character to warm to. Her overall persona is as light and fluffy as the air she walks on; the floating element is such a fitting attribute seeing as she appears so angelic.
Lauren McCrostie who plays firey Olive is also very good. She joins Purnell nicely in playing one of the ‘big sister’ type roles, and delivers the more dramatic moments where needed. She has a hint of Swallows & Amazons about her, which could be classed as boring but hey – it works and ensures the mix of children are blended nicely. I also couldn’t help thinking how much she looks like a young Kristen Wiig.
My only complaint children-wise is the fact that there aren’t enough of them. Not enough weird stuff going on. You have flight, fire, invisibility, even a mouth in the back of a head, but this movie could have benefitted from a few more weird and wonderful ‘peculiarities’. Instead, I got five or six kids milling around the front garden of a mansion during break time from their chores. Not overly intriguing really but hey, you can’t have it all.
The element of being frozen in a time loop (in 1943) is excellent. Miss Peregrine’s explanation of how she and her children are safely hidden in the loop is a nicely animated scene. The Luftwaffe bomb plummets towards earth – directly on top of their house – and then freezes. Time whips into a frenzy and the residents are safe. This scene blends nice visuals which shift and shimmer with clarity, I liked this. It’s something to keep the viewer interested for a minute or so. Which is good, because..
The concept may be good, but there is something missing in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The movie lacks a fantasy spark, the juice to keep it buzzing with intrigue. It’s basically shop’s own brand Coke instead of Coca Cola; it satisfies but isn’t the sweet, full-sugar version.
The finale is also a bit of a let-down. It basically consists of the peculiar children throwing rocks at the movie’s brutal deadly enemy from atop a ride at a fairground. One of the most random, bizarre endings I’ve seen I think. And a bit shit.
Right, that’s that. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
An almost delightful children’s adventure, containing a few fascinating super powers – but doesn’t cut it for adults. Sit the kids in front of this and I have no doubt they will bloody love it, it is everything they could want from a fantasy.
I won’t be watching it again.
Once is honestly enough.