Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children begins with a preamble where Jake (Asa Butterfield) dotes on his elderly grandfather, Abe (Terence Stamp), who – after being attacked – he tells him to get away to the island, plus a load of nonsensical gibberish, concluding, “I know you think I’m crazy, but the bird will explain everything.” Erm…
As a child, Abe had painted great tales including one about a cave in Puerto Rico where he entered to hide from the monsters… of course, as it’s a Tim Burton film, you know he’s telling the truth, and he must be since he has pictures to prove it!
A trip to Wales later, with his father, Frank (Chris O’Dowd), leads to Jake wandering off the beaten path and discovering the mysterious home, which is stuck in time after a German bomb dropped on it during World War II, on September 3rd, 1943. Eva Green plays Miss Peregrine, an Ymbryne which means her talent is time manipulation, quite handy as that means she can make the same day happen over and over in a ‘loop’, hence, when the German Luftwaffe are on their way, she can ‘reset’ things 24 hours back to the way they were. However, with the threat of the ‘loops’ being closed, things have the propensity to change. Since he’s now in their world, is Jake the key to sort it out? Well, it certainly isn’t the mad Welsh rappers he encounters early on.
Far better characters include Ella Purnell as the delightful Emma – the girl who’s lighter than air and requires lead boots to stay grounded, ‘hot stuff’ Olive (Lauren McCrostie) and Eva Green brilliantly hamming it up as the titular Miss Peregrine. I’ve seen the film in both 3D and 2D, and while the 3D has its moments, such as the ‘reset’, as you watch the sky changing from one day to another – with everything reversing, but it’s not essential throughout. In fact, while 3D can make some scenes quite fark, in the case of this one, it kicks in far more than any other 3D movie I’ve watched. Here, the format really knackers the daytime scenes. The dark ones are fine, so it could be the bright ones haven’t been rendered correctly in the original filmmaking process.
Talking of dark, there are some very dark moments that are absolutely not suitable for young children. I know some think the 12A should really have a young age limit of eight (since the certificate means anyone accompanied by an adult can attend – basically making it a PG). Note that the ’12A’ cert came about after parents kicked off at 2001’s Spider-Man being not quite violent enough for a 15-cert, yet too strong for a regular, definitive 12, leading to parents looking for some flexibility in the system.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is certainly worth watching, but it often feels like a series of set pieces – some being absolute flashes of genius – rather than a whole, coherent movie, getting baggy from time to time over its long 127 minutes. But then that’s often what I come to expect from Mr Burton?
And you’ll never listen to the old-time version of “Run, Rabbit, Run” in the same way again….
The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and you’d be surprised if it was not a top-notch transfer for a brand new film. There are no issues with it whatsoever. For the record, I watched this on a Panasonic 50″ Plasma TV.
The sound is in DTS HD 7.1 (English version only) and the split-surround effects are used nicely for the more fantastic scenes.
There are some great pieces amongst the extras, which are as follows:
- The Peculiar Story (12:51): How the film came about, including how the old pictures shown by Terence Stamp to his grandson came from a swap meet in Pasadena. There’s onset footage – such as when Emma is ‘flying’, plus chat from Tim Burton, screenwriter Jane Goldman and author Ransom Riggs, who also introduces the piece.
- TThe Peculiars (64:54): Over an hour looking into individual characters, each separated by chapters: Abe, Miss Peregrine, Jake, Emma, Bronwyn, Claire, Olive, Enoch, Fiona, Horace, Hugh, Millard, The Twins, Miss Avocet and Victor.
- Hollows & Ex-Hollows (9:24): All the baddies and what they got up to, including fights with the baddies and how Barron named after an evil school bus driver the author had to suffer as a child.
- Map of Days (17:40): A look at Miss Peregrine’s home and the Blackpool Tower.
It’s mostly all about the set design for their respective time periods, plus some time-lapse photography in the former one.
- Florence + The Machine – Wish You Were Here music video (2:18): short and sweet
- Gallery: Photographs (comparing the original photos to the characters) and Tim Burton sketches.
- Theatrical trailers (2:23 and 2:27): Two of them… but I gave that away.
- Audio descriptive track: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
The menu features clips from the film set to a very short repeated piece of the score. Chapters are plentiful with 32, and there’s also subtitles in SIXTEEN languages.
Again, despite the multiple language and subtitle tracks, Fox do the public down by only listing English on the box. Then again, I know people enjoy reading my reviews for the accurate information in this department.
Running time: 127 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Released: February 6th 2017
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 7.1 (English only), DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: DTS HD Master Audio 7.1 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Ukranian, English audio description
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Estonian, Arabic, Icelandic, Korean, Latvian, Ukranian, plus one I can’t figure out
Format: 1.85:1 (ARRIRAW (2.8K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Tim Burton
Producers: Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping
Screenplay: Jane Goldman (based on the novel by Ransom Riggs)
Music: Michael Higham and Matthew Margeson
Miss Peregrine: Eva Green
Jake: Asa Butterfield
Abe: Terence Stamp
Emma: Ella Purnell
Enoch: Finlay MacMillan
Olive: Lauren McCrostie
Barron: Samuel L Jackson
Miss Avocet: Judi Dench
Ornithologist: Rupert Everett
Dr. Golan: Allison Janney
Horace: Hayden Keeler-Stone
Fiona: Georgia Pemberton
Hugh: Milo Parker
Claire: Raffiella Chapman
Bronwyn: Pixie Davies
The Twins: Joseph Odwell and Thomas Odwell
Millard: Cameron King
Victor: Louis Davison
Frank: Chris O’Dowd
Jake’s Mom: Kim Dickens
Shelley: O-Lan Jones
10 Year Old Jacob: Aiden Flowers
6 Year Old Jacob: Nicholas Oteri
Miss Edwards: Helen Day
Mr. Archer: Philip Philmar
Mr. Clark: Jack Brady
Mr. Gleeson: Scott Handy
Aunt Susie: Jennifer Jarackas
Uncle Bobby: George Vricos
Aunt Judy: Brooke Jaye Taylor
Prettiest Teen Boy: Cameron Greco
Prettiest Teen Girl: Ella Wahlestedt
Cousin Twins: Andrew Fibkins and Jack Fibkins
Oggie: Nicholas Amer
Kev: Ioan Hefin
Dylan: Shaun Thomas
Worm: Justin Davies
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.