‘Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children’ Soars Above Expectations
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*Minor Spoiler Alert*
“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” introduces you to the wonderful realm of the Peculiars, people gifted with incredible abilities. The movie follows the journey of a teenager named Jacob Portman after the unusual death of his grandfather, Abraham Portman. Because of a promise he made to his late grandfather, Jacob travels to Cairnholm, a Welsh island, with his father. There he discovers the peculiar children, their headmistress, Miss Peregrine and the children’s home from Abe’s bedtime stories. The whimsical story takes a dark turn when the monsters that hunt Peculiars begin to arrive at the island, led by their creator, Barron. The children then must travel to Blackpool, England, to save Miss Peregrine from Barron.
The movie is a fantastical adventure through the lives of the Peculiars with delightfully creepy undertones. Dark monsters and secrets give an additional layer of complexity to the fanciful world. The cinematography of the film provides a fittingly fantastic atmosphere to go with the world built through the story.
The CGI of the creatures fit the tone of the movie perfectly and was implemented competently. The aura exuded by the characters was accentuated by the shooting of each scene. For example, the scene where Emma and Jacob are saying goodbye is made more powerful by the cold cave they are being filmed inside.
The characters use their powers and logic to determine how their abilities would best be used in the situation. For instance, one of the peculiars uses her fire powers to light the boilers in the ship headed to England to power it and help the children reach Blackpool. (Their intelligence is refreshing and necessary due to the far too common trope of characters momentarily forgetting their powers.)
In addition to this, the characters are provided with believable reasoning for actions and odd characteristics that deepen their personality. The characters also possess a layer of emotion that is sometimes unseen in film. The brilliant dialogue maintains a level of natural conversation, but this is sometimes lost in favor of lovely prose. However, overall, the writers stuck a more realistic than sophisticated style.
The movie came to life because of the actors’ excellent performance. It is that aspect of the acting in this film that caught my attention. The fantastical characters were all portrayed so well, that they became realistic. The actors themselves actually seemed to become their onscreen personas. They all showed the exact amount of emotion necessary to really bring their characters to life. For example, Samuel L. Jackson’s performance of the smug and smarmy Barron caused the character to seem realistic, despite the distinctly fantasy core of his character.
All in all, the movie was executed exceptionally well. The cinematography brought the world to life, and the actors provided the necessary breath of life for their characters in that world. The dialogue is simple and easy to follow, while still conveying a level of intelligence. “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” had many layers to the story and characters that were further deepened by excellent casting choice. I would definitely recommend this movie for everyone, regardless of whether you’ve read the books or not.