Sunday, December 11, 2016


After his grandfather's death, teenager Jacob (Asa Butterfield) decides to embark on a journey towards a Welsh island about which his grandfather used to tell him weird stories that he claimed to be actually true about his life. When Jacob gets there he is ready to accept that those were only fairy tales, yet when he discovers Miss Peregrine's home for peculiar children he discovers he might just have found a world where he belongs and much, much more.

Bruno Delbonnel as the director of photography, Jane Goldman as screenwriter, Eva Green as leading lady, Samuel Jackson as the villain, and Tim Burton as director are all elements that combined to this quirky and fascinating premise, indicate towards something to be excited about. Unfortunately, this picture does not deliver the adventure we might have imagined, yet by all means it manages to carry you to a colorful, wacky world that I might actually want to revisit sometime.

If there is something you know you will get when watching a Tim Burton film, it is impeccable production design and art direction. This film is no exception and, quite to the contrary, it might just be his best looking film, and I don't mean that lightly. The frame ratio is unusual and immediately helps in giving the movie this retro tone that really fits it. Moreover, the material is just perfect for interesting visual flare and the whole filmmaking team rises to the occasion. This film is simply beautiful to look at and in a way that really absorbs the viewer into the world. There isn't any flashy imagery or CGI extravaganzas thrown at the screen for the sake of it. It is brilliantly shot by Delbonnel who makes the most out of the magnificent design put together by the art team. The two just complement each other in what is a picture that oozes with stunning visuals that don't have the need to call attention to themselves and support the story in its every beat.

All of the beautiful imagery described above surrounds a world that is lively and believable, filled with great, unique characters that are easily distinguishable both because of their peculiarities, but even better because of their personalities. Jane Goldman is a fantastic screenwriter, especially in this kind of genre and once again she gives proof of being able to write instantly recognizable, relatable, and vivid characters. The cast fills her pages perfectly and overall establishes great chemistry between each other and a dynamic that is jumpy and funny without ever loosing a touch of emotion. Eva Green is a great actress and when put in this kind of role she always shines distinctively. You feel for all of these people and really like being in their company and in their quirky, adorable house. Furthermore, there is a really touching relationship established from the get go between Jacob and his grandfather, played beautifully by the great Terence Stamp. It gives the film a deeply emotional value from the get go and never looses it going on.

Where the movie, really unfortunately, looses itself is in the forwarding of plot and story. It is just too f**king convoluted for its own good. The mythology established is way, way too complicated and just unnecessarily so. It starts delving into time traveling in a way that isn't clear in the least and then it adds another subplot for Jackson's villain that is even more convoluted. Halfway through I was already getting lost in the logistics of it all and started not even caring about the consequentiality of the events anymore. Fortunately it is a film that lends itself very much with the audience just rolling with it, but still there was no way to make heads or tails of so much that was going on.

And the worst part is that it was so frustrating, because the rest of the elements are just so good you would like to get lost in these characters, but you just can't and it is very unfortunate, this was a film that deserved slightly better than it got and it is sad to see it fall short of the amazing content it managed to grace the audience with.

James' Score: 6.5/10

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