Feat. The Music of Florence + The Machine
“We don’t discuss the future here. We enjoy living in the here and now.”
Welcome to the darkly fantastic word of Miss Peregrine, a place where time stands still but hearts beat fast, and gardens bloom when spell is cast. Lush and green; Oh what a scene! Where dreams are projected like Kodak carousels, and peculiarity’s the spice of life; forget all your strife. And may you stay forever young.
Jake Portman was unaware of his peculiarity for the first 15 years of his life. Then “an extraordinary and terrible thing happened, and there was only Before and After.” He goes in search of the home his grandfather claimed to have stayed in as a child. He said it was a place of magic, away from the monsters – a shelter for peculiar children like himself, who could do all sorts of extraordinary things. Impossible things. He told bedtime stories about an invisible boy, and a girl who could conjure fire with her bare hands. Were they just Big Fish folk tales? Or were they as real as his grandfather had believed them to be?
Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine is pure magic. It has style, emotional depth (and range), and unforgettable characters and scenes. One of my favorites is an early encounter between Jake and the drifting, Emma, who wears iron boots that prevent her from floating off into the stratosphere. She instructs Jake to lasso a rope around her waist and hold on tight to the other end while she returns a woodland creature to its home atop a tree. As she rises toward the sky in her matching blue dress, my heart goes with her inside my chest and I feel a profound sense of elation. It’s probably the realest looking levitation I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how they did that.
I notice a few editing tricks that don’t quite work, particularly in the beginning of the film. But I am more than happy to overlook them. Once you make it to Miss Peregrin’s home you’ll understand why. Each room, costume, and character is more wonderful than the next – impeccably styled, and crafted with inspired imagination, even more so than in the book, in my opinion.
Did I mention it’s also scary? Just when you’re feeling the Joyous Alice in Wonderland vibes, Burton masterfully dials up the fear, with an army of undead skeletons, ghouls, and monsters that feast on children’s eyeballs. And an Ichabod Crane reminiscent character named Enoch O’Connor, who resurrects creepy-looking dolls in his makeshift bedroom laboratory, only to watch them do battle royale with knives and other ghastly weapons.
I was in awe by the end of it. And Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more amazing, Florence and The Machine’s “Wish That You Were Here” started playing for the closing credits. Unreal.
EFC 11 Soundtrack: “Wish That You Were Here” by Florence + The Machine
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
Release Date: September 30, 2016 (USA)
Director: Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland, Edward Scissorhands)
Writer: Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class, Stardust), Ransom Riggs (novel)
Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Ella Purnell, Finlay Macmillan, Lauren McCrostie, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, and Judi Dench
The Inside Out: Disgust (25%), Joy (25%), Fear (25%), Sadness (13%), Anger (2%).