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Review of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”


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To me, the old adage has always rung true– to truly enjoy a movie that was once a book, you should read the book first. So before I began to pester my brother about going with me to see “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” I read the novel by Ransom Riggs.

Both the movie and book engrossed as I watched the story of Jacob Portman unfold. The story follows Jacob Portman, played by Asa Butterfield, a sixteen-year-old boy from Florida. Jacob travels to a small island off of Wales, where his grandfather once lived. It’s here that he finds himself looking for the any truth behind the bedtime stories after his grandfather’s tragic death. My favorite part of the book that couldn’t be transferred to the movie was that Riggs used real photographs planted throughout the book to promote Jacob’s grandfather’s story. The pictures were discovered from places such as flea markets and antique malls by a variety of collectors.

While on the island, Jacob discovers that his grandfather was telling the truth in his bedtime stories all along. The plot follows his journey with these peculiar children who live with Miss Peregrine on the island, which leads to the classic good against evil fight in the end, which reminded me a lot of “X-Men” in its plot.

The imagination and creativity of the anomalies that Riggs dreamed up and the scenes from the story was awe-inspiring. They made me feel like I was back in elementary school reading Harry Potter because of the fantastic and creative places it made me imagine while reading it. But, like any book that was made into a movie, there were some disconnections and dissimilarities in “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” movie.

The movie lacked in character development since it only spent about 15 minutes on the characters, and I only could get a feel for the characters because I had read the book, which spent chapters and chapters on the characters. But luckily, a lot of those short-comings were made up for in the special effects.

Directed by Tim Burton, the visual aspects of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” were nothing short of his past works. He perfectly portrayed the strange talents of the characters in the book such as Miss Peregrine’s, played by Eva Green, power of time and Emma’s, played by Ella Purnell, power of air. Burton encaptured just what I had imagined while reading the book.

Only about 15 minutes of the movie was spent wondering who Miss Peregrine was and what her home was. The rest of the two hour movie was dedicated to the plot from the book, and it felt like the climax lasted for an entire hour on its own.  Because the director tried so hard to condense background information, when things in the plot became more complex, things got confusing.

Even though keeping everyone and their peculiarities straight was a difficulty, I felt like after reading so much about them I understood just about every character’s personality. Without having read it before though, I think I would’ve been lost with all there was to take in.

One redeeming quality of the movie was that even though it wasn’t meant to be scary, I still found myself jumping a couple of times throughout the film. It was the ideal mixture of creepy and interesting, which I thought was perfect for this time of year.

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” was one of those movies that is technically meant for younger kids, but in reality, adults will enjoy it the most due to its multi-level plot line and intricate themes.

The book helped me understand things that the book lacked on, but even if you don’t have the time to read it, you won’t be disappointed.

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Abby Walker

Abby Walker is a senior at SMEast and the print features section editor as well as copy editor. This is Abby’s third year on staff and second as a copy editor. At East Abby is also a SHARE chair for Hope House and The Mission Projects. Abby looks forward to seeing the publication grow and teaching new staffers about the ins and outs of the infamous J-Room. Read Full »

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