Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a film, based on the 2011 book by Ransom Riggs or the same name. It has been brought to the screen by Tim Burton, and his influences are definitely there in the picture. Riggs collaborated with Burton for the filming.

Jake (Asa Butterfield) is a kid living in Florida in a generally dull life. He has a strong bond with his aging grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp), who tells him stories of the fantastic, all revolving around a school in Wales his parents sent him to, around the time of World War II. Jake’s father Franklin (Chris O’Dowd) never had a strong bond with Abe, and now believes he suffers from dementia, and there’s evidence, as he feels he’s being hunted. After a strange phone call with Abe, Jake goes over, and finds the home ransacked, and his grandfather dead.

Jake has a tough time dealing with the loss, and visits a counselor, played by Allison Janney. She listens while Jake retells the stories he heard from his grandfather, and suggests that perhaps he goes back to the school, perhaps to give him some closure, and to see that the stories were just the vivid imagination of a young boy separated from his family. Jake and Franklin take the trip, and all is not exactly what it seems. The school is long gone.

I went into the theater, expecting the story to evolve like one of the X-Men movies, but instead, it was a bit more unpredictable. Jake gets involved in the story, because they need his help, even though he feels there’s nothing he can do for them.

There is a villain, and it’s a good twist on what has gone on in the past. The story isn’t necessarily linear, and I was surprised more than once. The motivations for some of the characters don’t entirely make sense, until you get the bigger picture. Even then, some questions go unanswered. This could be the start of a franchise of books and movies, and it’s left unclear.

I found this movie entertaining, and original enough to recommend. There are some scary and creepy moments, which might upset some younger kids, but it’s not too graphic. There are definite influences of Tim Burton in the film and its design, but they are nowhere near as strong as they have been in movies past.