I was wrong to think that Charles Xavier had all the gifted youngsters in his school. Apparently, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children also serves as a safe haven for persecuted kids who have unnatural abilities. In this case, they are called peculiarities.
The protagonist, Jake Portman (Asa Butterfield), grew up on stories by his grandfather, Abe. His childhood is filled with tales of how his grandpa battled terrible monsters. His father had dismissed them as Abe’s way to cope up with what happened during World War 2. It was only due to his grandfather’s death that Jake’s curiosity got the best of him. On the island of Cairnholm, he discovers a shelter with exceptional children under the care of Miss Peregrine (Eva Green). There he finds out that Abe’s stories are not only true but that the young Portman is also a peculiar and he might be the only hope to stop whoever (or whatever) killed his grandpa.
Whenever I pass by bookstores, I would see Ransom Riggs’ books and wonder what kind of novels he has produced. But I would always get discouraged from reading them because of the eerie pictures on the cover. The movie is not a horror film but it contains some disturbing stuff that might be traumatic for little kids hence the PG-13 rating. I’m giving the books a try because I enjoyed the movie for what it’s worth. It’s a welcome break from the continuous stream of comic book films. I love Marvel as much as the average fan but the superhero fatigue is starting to kick in.
Barron, played by Samuel L Jackson Jr, is the main villain of the film. His group of rebel peculiars aimed to harness the powers of the Ymbrynes (peculiars who are able to manipulate time like Miss Peregrine) to become immortals. Their experiment goes awry and they turn into Hollowgasts, large, invisible creatures with tentacles but no eyes. However, they feed on the eyes of peculiars to revert to their original form. Barron and his gang target the remaining Ymbrynes to redo their failed procedure to gain immortality. The only hindrance to their plan is Jake who is, like Abe, a peculiar who can see the Hollowgasts.
I think this is my favorite role for Eva Green. She’s such a badass actress and I really feel that this movie could have used more of her. I mean, she didn’t appear onscreen until 30 minutes into the film and there was a good chunk of time that she was in bird form (yes, Ymbrynes can transform into birds). Samuel L Jackson appeared much later but that’s understandable since the reveal that he was masquerading as Jake’s psychiatrist is an integral part of the story’s plot.
The fight at the theme park was entertaining. I love how they strategized to defeat the Hollowgasts especially how they used Enoch’s peculiarity (he has control over non-living things when he transplants hearts into them). Jake and Emma (Ella Purnell)’s moment in the sunken ship is one of my favorites, too. Judi Dench was kind of wasted, though, as she only appears for a little bit and gets killed off too soon.
My major takeaway from this is the importance of being able to see that which is trying to kill you. Being defeated is sad but losing by default is sadder. Miss Peregrine and the children were forced to hide because they were powerless against their enemy. But Jake not only gave them hope, he gave them courage to fight. We all are afraid of something. However, it is courage that gives us the ability to overcome our fears. Even if you have great powers, you are stuck where you are when you succumb to what you dread.