Movie Review: MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

Last night I went to go see MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN in the theatre. I’d read the books and loved them (though I had some issues with the development of Jake’s powers and such). I read them before I knew they were going to be made into a movie, and the first time I saw the trailer I nearly pissed myself. I was angry. I decided to see the movie anyway, hoping that there would be something redeeming about it (also because Samuel L. Jackson and Tim Burton). I was wrong. Very wrong.

This is where we start with spoilers, so if you want to avoid those I suggest you grab a broom and fly off now.

They totally fucked up the children! Emma has Olive’s powers, and Olive has Emma’s. Oh, and in additon to Olive’s floaty power Emma could also breathe oxygen into anything. Olive is somehow Enoch’s age when she was supposed to be more around Claire’s age. The twins exist in Miss Peregrine’s home. Branwen is now Claire’s age even though she was supposed to be closer to Enoch’s and be a motherly type. MIss Peregrine is attractive?! Fiona spoke and had incredibly tame hair, even so much as braiding it whereas in the books her hair looked more like a birds nest because she couldn’t be bothered to brush it ever. GAAAAAH. I don’t understand why they did this. I don’t understand why Ransom Riggs allowed it. I know you have to do certain things to make movie adaptations work, but you’re not supposed to CHANGE THE CHARACTERS.

*takes a sip of her coffee and then shakily puts her mug down*

As if that wasn’t enough to anger me, let’s address the blatant racism in the movie. In the books, all the characters were white. Now, I have NO ISSUE AT ALL with them taking some of those white characters and making them black or brown or whatever. I would love it if they had done that more. They did make one of the characters black, Mr Baron/Dr Golan. THE BAD GUY. They made the bad guy the only person of color in the whole movie. That’s HORRIBLE. And to make matters worse, they made Jackson wear a prosthetic to give him the sharp teeth that wights are supposed to have instead of just using CGI. The prosthetic made it hard for him to talk and enunciate words well. You can understand what he is saying, but there is a definite speech impediment there.

I talked a little about Emma/Olive’s powers a few paragraphs ago. In the book Olive has the ability of floating. It’s really just that she is super light and has to have special shoes to weigh her down or else she’ll float away. Emma had fire power in the book. It angered me enough that they swapped their powers (later in the book series Emma used her fire power to help Jake fight the hollowghast), but they also gave Emma an additional power. She could blow air out of her mouth hard enough to shove a person against a far wall and to clear out water from a not-water-tight room (ie ON A SUNKEN SHIP). She could also apparently form an air bubble for Jake to slip his head into and breathe underwater the way a diver might wear a diving mask connected to an oxygen tank. None of this makes sense. None of it. First of all, that power didn’t exist in the book anywhere at all. Second of all, if you breathe out anything it’s carbon dioxide…not oxygen. Third, you can’t just blow hard and push all of the water out of a room on a sunken ship. No. Just no. That’s not how water do!

MIss Peregrine wasn’t the Nanny McPhee type character she was supposed to be. Instead she was hot. Now, I like a cute woman as much as the next queer girl does. But the filmmakers again deviated from what was written in the books. And not just in that way. In the books, ymbrynes aren’t supposed to be able to shapeshift when they are injured. At the end of the movie, Miss Peregrine gets injured, just like in the book. But unlike the rules the books laid out, she easily took her human form again.

In fact, I have issue with the entire ending of this movie. Not just Peregrine and her powers. In the books, the final battle took place on a boat–the one Mr Baron/Dr Golan used to get away from Cairnholm with the captured Miss Peregrine. The children chased after him on another, smaller boat. In the end, MIss Peregrine was freed but unable to turn human. That’s where the book ended. Right there. The children were going to go and find another ymbryne to help Miss Peregrine. There was no show down with wights and hollowghast. There was no carnival scene. Nothing. The movie changed that completely, making the kids reach a carnival in which all of the hollows were present and also several (if not all) of the wights. By the end of the movie all of them had been destroyed.

The book series was a trilogy. Not a single stand alone novel. By having all of the wights and hollows destroyed in this one movie there is no reason for their to be a second (and so help me Odin if they try to make a sequel). Because of this we don’t get to see a dozen more characters or the development of Jake’s powers. I already mentioned I had issue with them, but they still developed into something more than just being able to see the hollows and that development allowed for a bit more character development for Jake.

We don’t get any resolution with Jake and his parents regarding peculiars in the movie. Jake’s parents all thought Jake’s grandfather (a peculiar) was a nutcase because he saw monsters and new of girls who fly and eat from the back of their head. Jake new different. He proved it to himself. But at the end of the movie, his parents never came around. Jake just went back to his normal old life and then though his grandfather gave him money to go find Emma again, there was never resoluation with his parents. That thread was just left open and dangling. In the books we didin’t resolution until book 3, but everything else was resolved and this was just kind of left hanging. No. If you’re going to tie up all the hollows and wights in one movie, tie up EVERYTHING.

Oh, and by the way. The term wight wasn’t even used. The guys with white eyes and the tall monsters were just all called hollowghast (or hollows for short) even though they were two different things. And this is a very nitpicky thing, and not really relevant to the goodness or badness of the movie, but I HATED how they designed the hollowghast–the things actually called hollowghast, the monsters. They looked too jovial to be properly terrifying.

They put in filler shit that wasn’t in the books (like the squirrel that Emma always caught and the hollow the Peregine always kills), they took out the bush that pointed to the exact point in the sky where the missile would land. They just made a complete, muddled mess out of everything. I went in expecting this hoping it wouldn’t anger me so much when atrocities happened, but I came out and ranted to my boyfriend the entire ride home and then for another hour after we got home!

In short, save your money and wait until you can get it on Netflix. It’s not worth the $12 a ticket to see it in the theatrs.

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