Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
This film fits Tim Burton vast, creative imagination so well, with its scary creatures, paranormal happenings and Victorian-esque settings, Burton had created an imaginative gorgeous world that was filled with both wonder and fear. This was more akin to Burton's under-rated Big Fish than his seminal classics, e.g. Edward Scissorhands. Burton failed in delivering on the YA-aspect of the story and Asa Butterfield's and Ella Purnell's lack of chemistry did not help things. Although Eva Green was an excellent muse to play off of Burton's eccentricity and could very well be his next Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter. Vanessa Ives would have been proud!
Jane Goldman wrote the script and it was quite evident that she was more familiar with writing about, rather than of or for, the weird and paranormal. Beyond that, her grip on charactersation and translation of the YA bits to the screen. was at best rudimentary. Most of her dialogue was clunky and the film succeeds more at times when Burton and Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel (from Burton's Big Eyes) were left alone to tell the story through the pictures.
Creature designs were effectively scary for the monsters and wondrously exciting for the peculiar children. Nothing groundbreaking here like in in Guillermo del Toro's Pan Labyrinth, but yet there was an odd sense of creepiness in the familiarity. And the blend of CGI, stop-motion and live action was impressive,
Eva Green chewed her scenes with great aplomb. She looked like she was having so much fun and she really sold the idea that she could really have been Miss Peregrine! After Penny Dreadful, I do think that she is one of the most under-rated actresses at work now.
Samuel L Jackson played the same role he always played when cast as the diabolical villain, see: Kingsman and Django Unchained. He could do it in his sleep. Effective but unexciting.
Asa Butterfield has grown up, but this wasn't the boy from Hugo anymore. He had so much potential, so hopefully he finds it back soon.
Judi Dench and Terence Stamp lent some gravitas to the film in their extended cameo roles. There could be a whole fan-fic film about their two characters! That's a thought...
Music was by Mike Higham and Matthew Margeson, and not frequent Burton collaborator Danny Elfman. And it showed. The music was fine but nobody really got Burton as well as Elfman through music, and the scored lacked the playfulness and eccentricity that so often marked their collaboration.
Miss Peregine's was a delightful film filmed with the curiosity of a child's eyes and imagination of the unknown. Time to go read the book....