Wednesday, 5 October 2016

REVIEW - MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (TIM BURTON)


As Tim Burton continues to fall short of what storytelling standards he once possessed, it's almost a little precious to see the other side to his 21st Century laziness. Many of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children's oddities are engendered by Burton's take on material that already supplies plenty, and one does detect his ever-unfortunate clumsiness in befitting his style to mainstream contrivances that only repel such an association. Yet the prevailing sense here is not so much laziness and repetition as it is relaxation - if Burton appears more disinterested, less actively involved in shaping this project into the kind of tired offbeat whimsy-fest that we too have grown tired of, that's actually a good thing. It guarantees that, ironically, the least odd detail about Miss Peregrine is its tone, wherein it is content to amble along a path of resolute familiarity, but there's little about the film that's as grating as we've become accustomed to in Burton's recent oeuvre. His issues with diversity remain as pronounced as ever, even with the casting of Samuel L. Jackson - that's strike one. Strike two, the sluggish, aimless first act, featuring a grossly underused Kim Dickens (though isn't she always)? This time, however, there's no strike three, as the deference to formula is, in fact, so integral to the success of this story that its intrusion mostly mitigates the director's less advisable urges, occasionally substituted by now-rare displays of competence. It's a bumpy, dissatisfying path that Miss Peregrine takes, but not one without its modest charms.