Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Perfect for Burton's style, but not ideal for children - 3 stars

Peculiar: strange; odd; uncommon; unusual; distinctive in nature or character from others

Walking into the cinema...
Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland) is back in the director's chair with a story that seems ideally suited for his peculiar touch. 

Russelling Reviews: 3 stars
Cinematic rating: 3 stars
Reel Dialogue rating: 3 stars

       Jake Portman (Asa Butterfield) has come to terms with living an ordinary life in Florida. If it was not for the imaginative adventures told to him throughout his childhood by his grandfather Abraham (Terence Stamp), he would have had little to celebrate in his life. After the mysterious death of Grandpa Abe, Jake begins to see that the world that he thought was mere fairytales actually exists. In a coming of age journey with his father, he comes into contact with the Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) and her home for children with peculiar abilities and traits. In the process, the unassuming teen realises that he is linked to this special group of children and must help to protect them from the work of Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) and the terrifying Hollows. 
    Based on the smash hit young adult novel from Ransom Riggs, this grim storyline seems to be a perfect match of author and director. From the director who has brought Dark Shadows and Corpse Bride to the big screen, this X-men-like home for children provides a new playground for his twisted view of the world. The challenge for Burton is to manage to balance the dark side of his personality with the humour that has made his style work in the past. He will be without the idiosyncratic stylings of Johnny Depp on this outing, but based on the actor's recent film's earnings, it is time for Burton to look for others to work within his directorial style. 
     The key thing to know about Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is that even though 'children' is in the title, it is not suited for children. It contains an exceptional cast, inspiring special effects and an unusual storyline, but this film is best suited for an older audience than what it seems to be marketed. The characters and villains do not have the lighter or humorous aspects that make them accessible for children. For parents who choose to ignore the ratings, this film will provide many a late night with children experiencing nightmares. 
     With this necessary warning aside, Burton's adventure into Miss Peregrine's time loop is worth experiencing. For fans of the celebrated director, this is not his best outing, but his storytelling ability still provide a magical ride for audiences. Reminiscent of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events and most Roald Dahl's creations, Riggs' unique world is ideally suited for cinemas. Eva Green and Asa Butterfield provide the right personalities to lead this special group of children to safety. The characters are a rich field of personalities and giftedness for a multitude of films and Burton's special effects touch complements this narrative. 
     It is not a perfect film and the two glaring missteps would be in the pacing and the villain. With the vast array of personalities on screen, time is needed to develop each of the back stories which does weigh down the re-telling of this famed novel. This can be excused for the sake of the story, but the key weakness of a poorly executed villain is pervasive this year. Samuel L. Jackson seems to sit in the uncomfortable position of not knowing the fine line between creepy and funny. A bit of levity would have helped to lift this adventure above the ordinary fare on offer. Although it is flawed, things do come together in the end and does offer a unique, dare it be said, a peculiar option for cinema goers this weekend.    

REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film? 

Is peculiarity to be celebrated? Based on the many of the letters in the New Testament of the Bible, being distinctive in nature or character from others is orchestrated by God. Not only should it be celebrated, but help people within society to work together more effectively. Within the community of God or it could be said, the body of Christ, we are challenged to know our 'peculiarities' and how these skills work in the bigger picture of society. 

Passages on being peculiar: Romans 12:4-5, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Ephesians 4:16, Colossians 2: 18-19

Trailer for the film

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews 
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