USA | Belgium | UK 2016
Opening October 6, 2016
Directed by: Tim Burton
Writing credits: Jane Goldman, Ransom Riggs
Principal actors: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Terence Stamp, Chris O'Dowd, Samuel L. Jackson, Judi Dench, Allison Janney
Time waits for no one. Director Tim Burton reaches out to the child within with this tour de force. Everyone had point in time that changed his or her live forever: for Jacob (Butterfield) it is another humdrum Florida day. Compelled to visit Granddad Abe (Stamp), an integral part of his childhood, “That day, everything changed forever.”
Acquiescing to Jake’s therapist (Janney) advice, Jake and dad (O'Dowd) travel to the Welsh island where Abe’s longtime friend Miss Peregrine (Green) lives. Hopefully, it will give Jake closure, and Frank can photograph birds. Instead, and uncomprehendingly, her home for peculiar children is in ruins. Undaunted, Jake returns and finds clues. Then, amazingly, Abe’s bedtime stories friends materialize whom Jake recognizes from Abe’s old photos. Miss Peregrine, stopwatch in hand, tracks time in her time loop, and her charges. Each is as peculiar as the next: aero-kinetic Emma (Ella Purnell), invisible Millard (Cameron King), pyro-kinetic Olive (Lauren McCrostie), prophetic Horace (Hayden Keeler-Stone), cultivator Fiona (Georgia Pemberton), two-mouthed Claire (Raffiella Chapman), unnaturally strong Bronwyn (Pixie Davies), Enoch (Finlay MacMillan) who can resurrect, and Hugh (Milo Parker) with his bee-filled tummy.
Instead of clarifications, the incongruities, mysteries, and dangers multiply at an incredibly fast pace. Abe’s monsters materialize: the Wright’s—undead humans—dangerous leader Mr. Baron (Jackson) terrorizes all time-loop-keepers. Headmistress Avocet (Dench) arrives with the hair-raising Hollows hot-on-her-heels. All in good time, Jake recognizes just how much he and Abe share. Still, only time will tell what his decision is.
In Tim Burton’s hands, Jane Goldman’s adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ debut and best selling same-titled novel purrs with pleasure. Riggs’ perspective is in tune with the Brothers Grimm tales and Roald Dahl stories. Susie Figgis pulls together a remarkably distinctive cast whose enticing performances are wonderful. The symbiosis among production teams, talent, et al. is imaginative, magical, and ingenious. Will you want to see this film again? Yes. Is Jake’s decision in the knick of time? In parallel, alternative worlds, it is hard to say. But then, time is a wasting – find out for yourself. 126 minutes ( )