Monday, 10 October 2016

Entertainment Monday: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Monday, October 10, 2016)

October 10, 2016 Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie:  With Spoilers

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is the movie adaptation of the best selling young teenagers book by author Ransom Riggs of the same name.  The story chronicles the adventures of a teenage boy named Jacob Portman who is a bit of an awkward, socially shunned teen, who feels very normal and average in virtually every respect.   Jacob's parents worry for Jacob's metal health when Jacob discovers his grandfather, Abraham on the verge of death after what appears to be an intruder's attack.  Jacob sees a monster directly after his grandfather's death prior to which his grandfather tells Jacob he has an unique talent.  Jacob confides the vision of the monster to his parents, who in turn seek a mental health advisor for Jacob.

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Jacob also has time enough with his grandfather to be instructed to go to Wales and find the answers relevant to his talents and to his grandfather's attackers by seeking out Miss Peregrine's school for Peculiar Children.  Through Jacob's psychiatrist, Jacob is able to convince his father to take him to Wales in order to help him come to grips with his grandfather's passing and seek out the home.

Once in Wales Jacob discovers that the home for children his grandfather sent him to was destroyed when it was bombed by German planes on September 3, 1943.  Despite his frustration with his grandfather's miss information, seemingly brought on by dementia, Jacob returns to the wrecked home to search for clues.

During his search of the home he discovers and is spooked by a group of peculiar children hiding there with special, disabilities or abilities depending on one's point of view, who take him through a worm hole in time back to the morning of September 3, 1943 prior to the nighttime bombing of the home.

The children are Emma Bloom, a pretty blond haired teen who has the ability to control air.  She will float if she is not locked down to the ground by lead boots; Bronwyn Bruntely, a little girl who has the strength of 10 men; Enoch O'Connor, a boy who has a penchant for temporarily resurrecting the dead; Fiona Fraeunfeld, a young teen who can control plants; Horace Somnusson a teen boy who can project, for everyone to see, his dreams and prophetic visions of the future. Claire Densmore, a little girl with a monster-like mouth in the back of her head; Hugh Apiston, another young teen boy who sympathies and provides safe haven inside his body for bees; Millard Nullings, an invisible boy; Olive Abroholos, a beautiful red headed teenager who can control fire with her hands, but must wear gloves to contain and control her ability; two Twin boys who do not speak, like to play games and wear completely white clown/doll suits and much like Madussa possesses the ability to turn people to stone when looked upon, and Victor Bruntley, Bronwyn's older brother who is dead, a victim of a monster much like the one Jacob had seen at Abe's home, prior to September 3.  Victor possessed the same power as his sister Bronwyn, prior to his death.  Miss Peregrine keeps Victor at the home because she seems unable to come to grips with her failure to protect him.

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Miss Peregrine can turn into a Peregrine Falcon and she has the peculiar ability to create a time loop, which plays the same day, September 3, 1943 over and over again, providing a safe haven for the peculiar children where they can live forever protected from the bombing that should have taken their lives.

Jacob does not know what his special or peculiar trait is until it is revealed to him by Emma, when she takes him to see Miss Peregrine defeat one of the monsters that Jacob saw fleeing the site of his grandfather's death.  Neither the peculiar children or people without special talents can see the monsters,  they are invisible.  Jacob's peculiarity is his ability to see the monsters like his grandfather Abe could.  Jacob finds out that his grandfather essentially functioned as a mercenary killing off the monsters who would seek out the other peculiarly talented children across the world whom are protected throughout time by a variety of time loops and caretakers much like Miss Peregrine.

A battle between the children, the monsters and a defected faction of peculiarly talent people known as whytes takes place during which the protective time loop created by Miss Peregrine is destroyed. Due to the destruction of the protective time loop, Miss Peregrine's peculiar children must live out the rest of their lives day to day in 1943, aging as normal people would.  Jacob must choose to return to his own time or remain in the past forever with the destruction of the time loop.  His only escape path back to the present are the other time loops that have been created.  Jacob's time travels through the time loops map his grandfather created and his ability to defeat the monsters who ultimately kill his grandfather in the future allows him the opportunity to save his grandfather's life, and later on, provides him the chance to return to 1943 and pursue his romance with Emma after he made the difficult decision to return home to the present day.

The characters are dynamic and interesting.  The movie doesn't really provide enough time to delve into the pasts of all the children and fully appreciate each of them.  Emma, Olive, Enoch and Millard are the most developed characters outside of Jacob who the story centers around. I felt kind of sad that when the house was destroyed and the time loop with it, that Victor's body was destroyed too.  Somewhat surprisingly the particular sadness of that moment in the movie was not reflected at all by Miss Peregrine or Bronwyn whom likely would have been the most effected by the loss.  I don't know if it was cut, or if it was just ignored, but to me it was the biggest oversight in the film.

That said, I really liked the movie and think that there is so much potential for sequels, especially given the fact that 3 books have been written by Mr. Riggs, with this movie only covering the first book of the series.  The storyline is much more detailed then my review lets on, and as such, given the number of characters and the time travel it can be a bit difficult to follow.

More then anything the movie made me wish to read the books.  Often times I am introduced to a book or series of books through a movie I enjoyed.  There are some aspects of the film which might be frightening for younger children or give them nightmares.  For the book audience though which is a teen audience, I think the subject matter is appropriate and the story an enticing adventure along the lines of the Harry Potter series.  With that said I don't know that the novels reflect J.K. Rowling's brilliance and narrative acuity.

I hope that some of our readers will take the time to watch the film and share their opinions on it.

on edit: the pictures I included in my post were removed because blogger informed me with a message that they might cause difficulties for some blog viewer's computers.  As such I have removed the pictures but left the links to them.  

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