Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

(Netflix Streaming, June 2017) Much as I’d like Tim Burton to develop his own stories than to further contribute to the YA adaptation craze, I’ll have to admit that he’s squarely in his wheelhouse with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: blending Gothic sensibilities with a special-effects-heavy fantasy story, it’s a good excuse for Burton to deploy his visual inventiveness and deliver a story fit for misfit teenagers (and teenagers-at-heart). The grotesque imagery is often successful (although not entirely so, as a disappointing ending shows), and there is real sympathy for the outcast. Considering Eva Green’s screen persona, there is something satisfyingly disquieting in seeing her in the lead of a film aimed at teenagers—we’re never too sure that she won’t disrobe, kill someone or otherwise flip the film in her usual R-rating territory. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children does have its share of problems: the overall plot feels familiar as a YA work, it’s not quite as dynamic as it could be and the ending suffers from a few poor design choices. But Burton’s style keeps it afloat, and it remains more engaging than most of its YA equivalents. While the result won’t be lauded as one of Burton’s finest, it’s good enough to keep fans of the director interested until his next effort.

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