Warning: This article contains some spoilers for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
The time has finally arrived for Tim Burton's return to the director's chair with the big-screen adaptation of the New York Times' fantasy best-seller, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Here's the trailer for the action-packed, darkly peculiar fantasy film:
I recently got a chance to see the film ahead of release, and it was a great load of fun that showed a stellar return to the fantasy genre for Burton. The story needed some work in a few spots, but the effects were stellar, the humor was solid and the performances were perfect.
But the film had a few certain elements that really helped it shine, so let's take a look at some of the coolest elements featured in the film.
1. Eva Green And Tim Burton Reunite!
Though Dark Shadows may not have been the masterpiece everyone hoped for, it did begin the working relationship of Eva Green and Tim Burton, the actress delivering one of the better performances amongst the ensemble cast in Shadows. Not only did Green and Burton reunite for Miss Peregrine, but Green delivered yet another stunning performance that easily lands in her top ten performances of all time.
She brings all the ferocity and devotion to protect the children she's portrayed in previous films and shows in her career, as well as all the warmth and optimism that comes from the more light-hearted Burton movies of recent times.
2. The Visual Effects
Any film featuring characters with supernatural powers or creatures with no eyes and tentacles coming out of their mouths must feature stellar visual effects to properly illustrate the characters, but what shines about the effects in Miss Peregrine's is the blending of practical effects amongst CGI.
Ranging from lifting the characters to new heights to filming on location in the UK and Belgium, Burton's promise for more practical effects was proven true. One of my personal favorite effects in the film was in a sequence near the end of the film in which the peculiar children conjure up an army of skeletons to fight the invisible Hollows.
Though the Hollows were CGI, their movements very much are reminiscent of circus performers on stilts. In addition, the skeletons featured in the sequence are animated through one of Burton's timeless styles, stop-motion animation.
Though the film is primarily set in Wales, it does begin in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Not only does this setting look familiar to Burton fans (ahem, Edward Scissorhands, ahem), but it returns the director to one of his favorite thematic settings: Suburbia.
Burton has always had a penchant for telling stories set in suburban areas, featured in such films as Frankenweenie and Scissorhands, as well as his first short-film, Vincent. Part of this love for the quiet neighborhoods away from the downtown areas comes in part from Burton's childhood home in Burbank, California, at the time being one of the most famous suburban towns in America.
Not only does setting the beginning of the film help to establish lead character Jake Portman's background, but it also is a nice little throwback to Burton's trademark locale.
4. The Garden
Though the garden/backyard is utilized more for showing off some of the children's "peculiarities," including Fiona's ability to control and manipulate plants and Emma's floating capabilities, it also acts as a stunning display for Burton's visual creativity. The garden features an array of animal-shaped hedges that evoke fond memories of Scissorhands, as well as beautiful floral landscaping that is very reminiscent of the garden from Burton's re-imagining of the Lewis Carroll classic Alice in Wonderland.
There is even a moment in the film when Jake helps Emma return a squirrel to its hole high up in a very tall tree. Not only does the overhead view of the garden to continue to amaze, but the tree itself again brings some nostalgia to another previous Burton film, 1999's Sleepy Hollow.
5. Samuel L. Jackson As A Villain Is Magnificent
Now, before you go saying Jackson's played a villain before, none have been nearly as menacing nor as terrifying as his portrayal of Mr. Barron, the maniacal leader of the Wights. The few times Jackson has portrayed the antagonist in films such as Kingsman: The Secret Service, Django Unchained and Jumper, he has proven that he can be just the right amount of evil and malevolent that a villain needs, but they still lacked a certain wicked nature that would make them horrifying.
However, Jackson finally reached that vicious and wicked side with Mr. Barron, and knocked it out of the park. In a movie that has a light-hearted family feel, Jackson's antagonistic role brings the sense of deadly consequences and menacing tone that helps balance out the tone.
6. Chris O'Dowd Plays an American — You Read That Right
While you may be thinking this is a bizarre (or dare I say, peculiar) entry into this list, it's actually a very important one. The 36-year-old Irish actor is well-known by fans for his roles in the comedies Bridesmaids, This is 40 and the action hit Thor: The Dark World, in which he used his natural Irish accent. But with Miss Peregrine's, not only do we see O'Dowd in a less goofball role, but we also see him use an American accent.
O'Dowd succeeds in both variations from his typical roles with style, as he is still able to deliver some of his clumsy antics alongside a more responsible father figure while speaking with an American accent flawlessly, never once letting his native Irish accent slip through.
What were your thoughts on Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children? Did you have any other favorite elements not on this list? Let us know in the comments below!