“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” over-anticipated


Adapted from a novel written by Ransom Riggs, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children“ depicts a tale of mystery and adventure. Though the movie’s storyline is classic, it isn’t executed well.

Traveling to a fanciful world inhabited by “peculiars”— people who possess strange and abnormal powers— isn’t something that people can relate to from experience, but the movie does serve to highlight issues within society that help the audience understand the plot. Themes of loneliness and mistreatment arise when Jake (Asa Butterfield), the main protagonist, is repeatedly excluded and ridiculed by his peers, whether it be by his classmates doubting the existence of mythical beings or simply because of his disconnect with boys his age.

However, the actor portraying Jake in the movie is inadequate and unable to express sadness, causing many scenes to have a disappointingly lackluster effect. Despite this weakness, he is successful in portraying the other aspects of his character. On the contrary, co-protagonist Emma’s (Ella Purnell) body language is a major factor in pushing her character forward.  The actress’ spin on Emma’s presence and nature are alluring and make it easy to understand her emotions.

The designers made admirable attempts at matching the costumes to the characters’ special abilities and personality traits as well as their surrounding environments. It bothered me that they looked tacky at first, but as the movie continued on, the mismatch of clothing was the last thing on my mind as I became absorbed in the action-filled plot.

While watching the movie, I couldn’t help but notice the choppy transitions. The lighting— staggering from dark to light or a warm color palette to a cool one— was inconsistent in nearly all the transitional changes, giving an amateur feel. The director used this technique to contrast the stark difference between scenes of action, romance and horror; however, the lighting inconsistency is overdone. The film-work for the individual scenes makes up for it, though, as the beautiful cinematography captures and portrays every moment with a refined touch.

The music creates an atmosphere of palpable terror, but the soundtrack also features upbeat rhythms that contribute to the fluctuating gloomy and the jovial atmospheres throughout the movie. Sending chills through the audience, the sound of the low bass and consecutive, fast-paced runs bring an adventurous mood to life as suspense builds up. The music’s tone then smoothly transitions as situations change, becoming lighthearted during happier moments and eerily dark during times of conflict.

The movie’s structure is very strategically planned, and every moment rising up to the climax has a well-served purpose. The beginning, with its vague and ominous mood, was a great set-up to the main action with a few hints of what the climax and end result would be. Mysterious diction at specific moments left me in anticipation for what would come next. I was left on the edge of my seat, enthralled with unanswered questions and utterly compelled to continue watching to find the answers near the end of the movie. The movie is built up in such a way to leave the audience in surprise after learning that Jake’s acquaintance isn’t the person he is made up to be.

Like any other movie, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” has its flaws, but even so, it’s a decent movie that intertwines imagination with adventure and horror. Background components were executed well, but they lacked character developments. Overall, though, it was inflated to seem more interesting than it actually was from the advertisements given, and I wouldn’t categorize it as one of my favorites.

By Emmeline Tantry, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of IMDb

The Breakdown

Plot development
Character development

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