Monday, November 7, 2016

Pretty Much Tim Burton’s X-Men, or Thoughts on Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

When did Tim Burton actually become a parody of himself?  I can tell you the exact date: on July 27, 2001, the day his Planet of the Apes remake was released.  A box office success, it somehow convinced the studios that the two items Tim Burton needed as a director was complete editorial control and an unlimited budget.  Since that film he has enjoyed a mainstream success with his not so mainstream movies, and become the go-to director for audiences seeking a quirky sentimentality and above all, a distinctive look.  To that end, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016) fits nicely into his repertoire, so much so that it effectively blends into every other movie he’s made, from Big Fish (2003) to Big Eyes (2014) with a dash of Corpse Bride (2005) and Dark Shadows (2012) by way of Alice in Wonderland (2010).
From the 2012 children’s book of the same name, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children stars Eva Green, who did such a great job in Penny Dreadful as Miss Alma Peregrine; the time obsessed head mistress of the school and shapeshifting falcon lady.  Her undeniably charismatic performance is a highlight of the movie, but I can’t help but feel she’s phoning in her version of a Helena Bonham Carter impression. 
She lives on a Welsh island with an assortment of live-action Oyster Boy illustrations; Giant Carrot Girl, Invisible Boy, Fire Girl, Super Strong Girl, Bee Breath Boy, and Floaty Girl (they all have Harry Potter-ish names but I didn’t bother making notes).  There’s an excellent cast overall including Terrence Stamp, Chris O’Dowd from The IT Crowd, Alison Janney who gets a free pass after playing CJ in The West Wing, Dame Judi Dench, Samuel Jackson and Kim Dickens from Fear The Walking Dead.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with the movie, and in many aspects it’s the most Tim Burton-y film since Beatlejuice (1988), but it lacks the sincere whimsy, innocence and subversive humor of his pre-Sleepy Hollow films (1999).  This is manufactured, Hot Topic whimsy, diluted for a mainstream audience and conveniently packaged for easy digestion.  I do love me some Eva Green, but try as I might, I did not love this movie.

my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).