Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children [2016] ★★½

 1-sheet-mpTim Burton’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is a showcase for spectacular visual effects, a top notch production design, and endless movie references (I could swear the opening scene was straight out of Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 from Outer Space”. And look, there’s a tribute to Ray Harryhausen’s skeleton army from “Jason and the Argonauts”). But wait a minute. I’m making it sound like a great movie. It isn’t. And the sooner you realize that, the more fun you’ll have at this amusing adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ novel, fueled by Eva Green’s star performance and the kind of weird creatures one would expect from Mr. Burton. Look, I have a soft spot for his movies. I love “Beetlejuice”, “Sleepy Hollow” and “Frankenweenie”, and I genuinely believe that “Ed Wood” is a masterpiece and one of the best films of the 90’s. But even great directors can trip on their own ambition sometimes, and Burton is no exception. His latest feature, about a young boy (Asa Butterfield) who discovers a pathway that leads him to a mysterious world filled with unusual characters, is far from being great. There isn’t much substance here, and once you absorb the tone of the film and acquaint yourself with all these characters, the movie doesn’t have many surprises in store. Props to Eva Green, Judi Dench and Samuel L. Jackson for a diverting ride. But the overall result is still frustratingly hit-and-miss in my opinion. Damn shame.

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