The name Tim Burton does not carry the same glow it once had. Brand Burton is what Hollywood wants. The sanitised “oddness” is desired, the one that allows a studio’s big-budget flick to stand out in the crowded kids’ market.
Those of us born before 2000 will long for the glory days of ’90s Burton: Beetlejuice, Batman and Ed Wood. That’s most likely why his latest efforts, and now Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, will disappoint. MPHFPC boasts some surprisingly lazy work from Burton – in terms of direction, editing and overall pace. At times, the film feels unfocused, poorly constructed, and fails to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the intriguing promise.
This is only amplified further by the flashes of old Burton dropped throughout the film. When Enoch (Finlay MacMillan) brings to life two dolls via stop motion animation, joy courses through your veins for a flash, then dissipates as you realise the joy is temporary. The moment is just that. The inconsistency in quality is endlessly disappointing.
Thank goodness for the adults. Samuel L Jackson and Eva Green are a living, breathing dream that elevate this film to a level it almost doesn’t deserve. Jackson has the time of his life as the villain Mr Barron – threatening, quick-witted, and charming. Yet it is the enigmatic, powerful and strong Eva Green who steals the show. She presents the actual embodiment of oddity and peculiarity that is sorely lacking from the rest of the film. The pair of them transform this into something watchable.
Praise be that Eva Green is here. She’s a gorgeous, sumptuous, delicious treat that chews scenery and delivers magnetism. It’s such a shame that Burton cannot evoke the qualities of his former hits to transform this from a solid and watchable children’s flick into something much more impressive.
CAST: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench
DIRECTOR: Tim Burton
WRITERS: Jane Goldman (screenplay), Ransom Riggs (novel)
SYNOPSIS: When Jacob (Butterfield) discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.