Tim Burton. His name elicits such a range of emotions. At first I get excited thinking of all the wonderful films he's made that I've loved, recommended, watched and re-watched over the years. And then I remember that the last Burton film I genuinely enjoyed was made over 20 years ago, and all that followed has just been a sea of disappointment since. So what is one to do? As a hopeful romantic, I lie in wait for his next project and eagerly take my seat in the cinema, praying for the Burton of old to return to the screen. Unfortunately, his latest project ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ is not the saviour I’d been waiting for.
Jake (Asa Butterfield) is a quiet loner, disregarded by his parents, leading him to have a unique and close relationship with his grandfather Abe (Terence Stamp). Abe filled Jake’s childhood with fantastic stories of a children’s home he grew up in with unusual, fantastic and sometimes terrifying characters. When his grandfather dies mysteriously, Jake is encouraged to visit this children’s home to uncover the truth behind the stories and gain closure. And so, on a remote island in Wales, Jake discovers and is welcomed into Miss Peregrine’s (Eva Green) home, where not all is what it seems and a dark and sinister danger is set to put them all in jeopardy.
Tim Burton made a name for himself by marrying his flare for the visually fantastic with great stories and a killer Danny Elfman soundtrack. Those days are gone. I feel as he’s stopped challenging himself and therefore has stopped putting in that special Tim Burton sparkle, instead directing with his eyes closed. Think about it. In the last 20 years, his films have been good but not great - ‘Dark Shadows’, ‘Alice In Wonderland’, ‘Corpse Bride’. Desirable but not memorable. Funny but not hilarious. Successful but not record breaking. ‘Miss Peregrine’ is no exception.
Unfortunately, Tim Burton's latest project is not the saviour I’d been waiting for.
With a primarily youthful cast, there’s not a Depp or Bonham Carter to be seen, and as an added departure, not an Elfman to be heard. No one is really a standout here, and visually it’s not the peculiar children’s peculiarities or the ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ battle between the baddies and a group of reanimated skeletons that steal the show, but Eva Green. Just Eva. As one of the most spectacularly beautiful working actresses, her gothic matriarch Miss Peregrine is a charming and layered delight.
So with an ever-changing landscape for movies and television, our beloved Mr Burton seems to be taking his time moving with the times - but as I said, I’m a romantic, and if you love something you must set it free. So farewell Mr Burton; I hope you return to us better than ever some day soon.