I read the novel Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children in the Summer, when I still had a lot of time to read. I really liked the book and I wrote a review about it. Not too long ago, the film version had it’s release. As the director is Tim Burton, who I think is a great director, and Eva Green, who is gorgeous and amazing, stars in it, I was very excited to watch it and see if it lived up to the book. I left the cinema with mixed feelings and in today’s post, I will explain to you why.
Both the film and the book follow the same story for the most part. In general, it’s about a boy (Jake) who is an ordinary boy who barely has any friends. Jake works at the drugstore his family owns. One day his grandfather calls and asked where the weapons are because the monsters are coming for him. Jake’s grandfather used to tell him stories about these monsters and the children’s home where he used to live, which housed children with special powers. Jake is older now and no longer believes his grandfather. That is, until he goes to check upon him and finds out that there’s been an attack on his grandfather. Jake can see the monster and is finally convinced his grandfather spoke the truth.
He follows his grandfather’s clues that take him to an island in Wales. There he finds the Children’s home hidden in a Time Loop which was created by Miss Peregrine. In this loop, the peculiar children can live forever. However, they are threatened by creatures called Hollowgasts, who used to be peculiars, but in their search for immortality, they changed into monsters. Jake is the only one who can see them and thus the only one who can save his new friends.
Book Emma vs. Film Emma
There are a few things about the film that I did not really like. I do understand the choices they’ve made from a cinematic point of view but they left many loose ends and some of the things made no sense at all. So I will try to describe what bothered me most.
In the book, Emma is Jake’s love interest. Emma is Jake’s love interest in the film too, however, in the book her peculiarity was controlling fire and in the film it was controlling air. They switched two main characters from the book as Olive is the girl who floats in the book. The thing that bothered me about this is that film Emma claims to be controlling air, yet when she doesn’t wear her special shoes, she can’t stay on the ground. You would say if someone is capable of letting ‘air do what I want’, she’d be able to control the floating. A minor detail, but one that bugged me. I don’t see why they had to change these characters anyway, as novel Emma was badass and in the film, well neither Emma or Olive were well-rounded characters.
Another thing that I was sad about was the fact that Eva Green did not have nearly as much screentime as she should have had. Yes, the story does not technically revolve around her. It still would have been nice if she had been around more. But that is just my personal preference.
Main difference: the ending
The main difference between novel and film that concerned me most was the ending. The book had quite an open ending and I understand why they chose to not have this open ending for the film. After all, if it flops, there will be no second film. Then we’d be stuck wondering what the hell happened in the end. I remember how outraged I was when the Lord of the Rings ended with that lame open ending, but I digress.
While the book’s ending was subtle and unsettling, the film’s ending was rather theatrical. It involves characters that should not have been there. Olive is frozen by one of the wights, to which Enoch, a peculiar who can temporarily bring things to life, brings a paper elephant to life. He could have just knocked the asshole out by hitting him hard on the head. And there are these twins with masks and when they show their faces, they petrify whoever sees them. Why not have them show their faces at the bad guys and get it over with.
In the book the Hollowgasts steal the peculiars’ souls but here they steal their eyes. Visually more effective indeed but I thought that the stealing of souls, perhaps cliché, was a little more effective.
The film references the year 2016, while the book wasn’t out then, and they fight in a loop created before Jake’s grandfather passed away. In a confusing twists of events, after the bad guys were defeated, his grandfather lived again. This is touched upon so briefly because before we know it, Jake has somehow found his way loop after loop after loop back to Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children. Speaking of Miss Peregrine, she managed to transform back to human form even with a wounded arm. In the book that was impossible. But of course, we needed closure so we got closure.
The reason I’m conflicted about it is because the film is visually stunning and the actors are incredible. It just failed to impress me and that is something that saddened me because I really wanted to like it.
Did you see the film? What did you think of it?