12A – 127mins – 2016 – 3D
IN THE LOOP
Ballerina, Storks, Trolls, Sing, and Moana. Four colourful, predominantly tuneful CG ‘toons which the marketing bods at Cineworld thought were perfectly suited to trail ahead of Tim Burton’s latest dark surrealist fantasy. Now, I appreciate that Miss Peregrine’s features children – even in its curiosity-piquing but less-than-punchy title – but this does not automatically a children’s film make!
Indeed, after the hyperactive rainbow-light previews, the 12A rated “family” film from the Edward Scissorhands director opens on a mysterious and sombre mood which rarely lets up. There’s the grisly murder of teen protagonist Jake’s (Asa Butterfield) grandfather (Terence Stamp), stilt-walking Hollows (which look like “The Crooked Man” from The Conjuring 2), a psychiatry session with Allison Janney and some dubious parenting from Chris O’Dowd – and this is all before we even reach the eponymous island home!
Still to come on Miss Peregrine’s (Eva Clone Green) time-loop suspended soon-to-be-bombed sanctuary for society’s “special cases” is a pigtailed girl with bestial jaws in the back of her head (Raffiella Chapman), a boy with bees nesting in his stomach (Milo Parker), twin gorgon’s hidden behind truly sinister-looking masks (Joseph and Thomas Odwell) and a teen with the macabre ability to resurrect the dead and inanimate (Finlay MacMillan)!
Beyond the inappropriateness of subjecting any aged viewer to a snake-like antagonist gobbling down the eyeballs of his victims, the plot of this Jane Kick Ass Goldman adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ bestselling novel hinges on Jake, his light-as-air love interest (Ella Purnell) and the other Peculiars using the loops to their advantage, skipping about in time to defeat the vile Baron (Sam The Legend of Tarzan Jackson) and rescue their bird-morphing headmistress.
The timey-wimey paradoxes were enough to make my head hurt, so it was no surprise that upon leaving the cinema my girlfriend overheard a young girl tell her mum that she was both scared and confused by the two hour kook-fest she had just watched. I’m not saying Tim Burton hasn’t fashioned a stylish and imaginative film, but all of these factors do weigh on my mind and impact upon my enjoyment of Miss Peregrine’s, a film I optimistically hoped I would enjoy far more than I ultimately did.
CR@B’s Claw Score: