Movie Review: ‘Miss Peregrine’ features sloppy plot, underwhelmed acting

Movie Review: ‘Miss Peregrine’ features sloppy plot, underwhelmed acting

Alex Toth, Reporter

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” stars Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game) and is about Jake, a troubled child who seeks out the Home for Peculiar Children, a fabled home in which the peculiars go to seek refuge, but when The Hollows attempt to threaten the well being of the Peculiars, Jake has to save the day.

Tim Burton (“Batman,” “Beetlejuice”) has spent the last few years experimenting with different genres. His 2014 drama, “Big Eyes” was a satisfying return for him, but wasn’t anything to get too excited about. Now we have the book adaptation “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”, and while this concept was set up to make for a weird, twisted, teen film, what sufficed was a studio pandering, lazily made, young adult film to tide over Burton fans until his next big project.

First of all the acting was horrible. I didn’t think I’d have to mention this with the star studded cast that fills this movie. You have Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction”), Eva Green (“Casino Royale”), and Butterfield so you’re pretty much set up for a good movie performance wise. But what happened was a laughably bad performance from most characters, and Jackson playing the stereotypical children’s movie villain that he’s played in the past but under a different name.

While I can’t blame the child actors for their performances, Asa Butterfield isn’t a child actor anymore. He’s 19 and has been acting for quite a while. I shouldn’t have to feel bad for laughing at his performance every ten minutes and looking like an idiot since the scene had no comedic value whatsoever.

Another issue the film had was the execution of the plot. Now, I haven’t read the book, but I’m sure the narrative has to flow a lot better than it does in the film adaptation. The film feels like a whole lot of longer scenes that were stripped down to fit the under two hour mark. If the film took a bit longer to get to know each of the characters and set up a more fleshed out world, it could have had much more of an impact.

The structure is another huge issue. 75% of the movie is exposition, and the last 25% is the climax. There’s no rising action, no huge conflict or anything. It was all crammed into the last 20 minutes which feels like a big slap in the face compared to the rest of the movie.

Speaking of the climax, there are so, so, so many things wrong with how it all went down. There’s some fighting, and that’s all fine, but towards the end of the scene, the peculiars bring out these insane, fight-ending powers, that definitely could have been used in the beginning of the fight. I get the whole not wanting a short climax, but any good writer could find a way around that.

My biggest problem with the film is its impact. I walked out of this movie feeling absolutely nothing. It didn’t interest me in the slightest, it all felt very phoned in, and very much like a cash grab. Tim Burton has lost his touch, and it really shows here. If he had put a little bit more passion into this, it could have been much more enjoyable, but where it stands, a lot of it feels like nothing more than another studio driven blockbuster that’s destined to sit on the shelves of video rental stores forever.

In short, I don’t think I can recommend this to anybody except die-hard fans of the book, and with the current lineup of movies coming out, it’s not even worth seeing on the cheap.