These are ‘the peculiars’ Jacob’s grandfather Abe told him stories about when he was growing up. Children, like his grandfather, sent to the island to escape the monsters coming for him. In the book, the reader knows ‘the peculiars’ are Jewish children sent out of Poland and Germany to escape the horrors of World War II, and what the world will come to call the holocaust. When Abe leaves to battle the monsters called ‘hollowgast’ we get it. Those demons represent the very worst monsters living in some men’s souls.
That element, the heart and soul of the battle, seems missing from the movie. What remains is the battle, the bad guys hunting children to eat their eyeballs and in so doing preserving their immortality, relentless in their pursuit. The children, led by Jacob, bravely pulling out their bag of tricks to stay alive. It’s dramatic, lively even if it’s difficult to understand why children with such magical powers don’t use them more often and more effectively.
Director Tim Burton must have had a blast, the Jack Skellington-like creatures, the re-animated toys are right up his alley. Unfortunately, Asa Butterfield doesn’t seem to have had as much fun. While his character Jacob is meant to be depressed, heartsick and fearful at the ominous death of his grandfather, Butterfield felt like he was going through the motions.
A fine performance by Eva Green as Miss Peregrine
doesn't help the movie take flight
Directed by Tim Burton from a script by Jane Goldman. Costume design (brilliant) by Colleen Atwood. Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel (Big Eyes, Dark Shadows), Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is in theaters now.