When young Jacob (AsaButterfield) discovers a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he comes across a magical place known as Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Imagine X-Men with magical kids and extra kookiness which comes as standard with films directed by Tim Burton.
Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) runs a home for children with special powers – be that prophecy, invisibility, super strength or having an extra mouth in the back of their heads. It makes for an exciting weird-vs-evil fairy tale as an army of monsters (Wights) led by the terrifying Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) try to wipe out the children – so he can claim immortality.
The ace in the hole here is the script by Jane ‘Kick-Ass’ Goldman who brings this odd superhero tale to vivid life – she has good form for super heroics after also writing X-Men: First Class. Miss Peregrine is an instant cinematic icon, a ‘Ymbrynes’ who can create time loops and use them to great effect – the reason she holds time at bay is fascinating and sinister. Jacob is a likeable hero who follows in the footsteps of his grandfather who also had the ability to see and fight the Hollowgasts and Jackson makes Mr Barron is a decent baddie too.
The Welsh locations looks superb in this gothic-em-up which mixes elements of groundhog day, ghost stories and even the Second World War. It’s an adventure film at heart but one that frequently makes you stop and just gape at the overcharged imagination at work – packing some serious visual highlights.
Although billed as a young adult/children’s tale, the film is often pretty scary so should only be attempted those braver youngsters out there. The tentacle-tongued Hollowgasts especially are the stuff of nightmares.
The ‘aerokinetic’ Emma Bloom (Ella Purnell) steals all of her scenes as well as Jacob's heart as his love interest. And the final conflict where all the peculiarities of the children are unleashed is a joy to behold, even if it feels like Burton is holding back a little which prevents this being quite a pulse-pounding as it could have been.
Weird and somewhat wonderful, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is certainly worth a visit.