Verdict: An amazing introduction to this peculiar world.
A picture is worth a thousand words. These words couldn't be truer than when Ransom Riggs released his novel in 2011. His concept was to construct a story around pictures of some peculiar children he had come across. Originally it was supposed to be just a picture book but we are glad he thought better and the result was a three-part series now adapted into a motion picture. It was rather natural for Tim Burton to choose a concept such as this that is part fantasy and part scary. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is an example when fantasy is not just beautiful but scary and creepy too.
The movie begins with an introduction to Jacob (Asa Butterfield) who has a special connection with his grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp). One day he is called home to attend to his grandfather and by the time he reaches home, he finds the house in disarray and his grandfather in the woods with his eyes missing. Soon, Abe breathes his last. Abe leaves a series of cryptic clues for his grandson to follow. Jacob visits a psychologist who advises him to visit the children's home his grandfather spent his childhood at. Jacob finds himself in Wales in search of the home and learns it was destroyed during the war. He meets some peculiar children from the stories his grandfather told him and is taken through a time loop to Miss Peregrine's Home where he meets the peculiar children. The time loop repeats from September 3 1943 to the time just before a Nazi missile destroys the home. The time loop is maintained by Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) who is a Ymbryne. Ymbrynes are in-charge of peculiar children and they have the ability to manipulate time, creating time loops for example. The peculiar children can live forever inside the time loop as they relive the same day over and over again. Miss Peregrine is captured by Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) who is a "bad peculiar" and whose only goal in life is to live forever without living in a time loop.
The scenes are expertly crafted in typical Tim Burton fashion. The entrance to the time loops although invisible have an effect which is very essential especially in the latter part of the movie. The children have done an amazing job of owning their peculiarity and yet look very normal. Eva Green as Miss Peregrine is enchanting to watch. She is like a cool governess who knows how to keep her children in line. She smokes her pipe, chides the children and keeps them in line and yet there is something appealing about her way of life. We see Judi Dench very briefly but she leaves a lasting impression. Samuel L. Jackson as the villain with the glowing eyes is terrifying and he brings life to a character that was not a part of the novel series.
The movie would have been better as a series as it would given time for the writers to explore the back stories of the titular children and the amazing world we were introduced to. Having said that, the makers took their time in establishing the storyline for the movie and sticking to it, touching slightly upon the side stories like the romance between Jacob and Emma and the history of how peculiars came to be.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
This is a captivating tale about a new universe, which fantasy lovers would enjoy. Even if you haven't read the books, there is enough to not let you feel lost. Watch it for the way Tim Burton waves his magic wand to breathe life into the characters that hold your attention through the movie.