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Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children Is A Tim Burton Movie For Tim Burton Fans

If you like Tim Burton, then Tim Burton movies are basically review-proof. The director never fails to use his work to showcase his quirky, kitschy style and if you’re a fan of that aesthetic, you’re probably going to find a list of stuff to love about each of his movies.

Thing is, some of them are better than others—Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure are peak Burton. But those Burton films all have something in common: none of them were made during this century. Over the past 16 years, the filmmaker has been a bit hit-and-miss, but that’s not to say Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children won’t delight his fans.

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Eva Green, in the titular role, is completely charming. As a sort of toned down Helena Bonham Carter, Green is just the right amount of eccentric and keeps the audience guessing (those who haven’t read the Ransom Riggs novel the movie is based on, anyway) as to her character’s true intentions. Always good at playing the bad guy, Samuel L. Jackson strikes the right balance as a genuinely scary, sharp-toothed villain who’s also responsible for bringing most of the movie’s comic relief.

As for the Peculiar Children, it’s entertaining to watch their individual peculiarities reveal themselves one by one—especially the twins. We spend nearly three-quarters of the movie wondering what their talent is, only to find out in a key scene that’s definitely worth the wait.

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As for Miss Peregrine’s shortcomings, there’s the peculiar casting of Asa Butterfield. The Ender’s Game star doesn’t fully convince in his role as Jake, the teen hero at the centre of the story. For a friendless kid from Florida who has just discovered a time loop full of cool people dying to hang out with him, he comes across as pretty indifferent. While mostly impressive on the whole, in certain places, the effects fall a bit short. During one scene, monsters battle the Peculiars at an amusement park and it looks, even in polished IMAX, like a scene from a (really good!) video game.

There are two follow-up books to Peregrine, Hollow City and Library of Souls, so don’t be surprised if a sequel or three are announced shortly after this film’s release. The story Riggs has created is compelling and could get even more interesting in a follow-up that doesn’t have to do all the world-building work this one is charged with—but nevertheless handles quite deftly.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children also stars Terence Stamp, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, and Judi Dench. It creeps into theatres Friday, September 30. Check out the trailer right here.

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