“Miss P’s Peculiar Children” Causes Mixed Reviews


Jordy Peterson

Reporters Avery Deen and Carlie Morgan battle over whether “Miss P’s Peculiar Children” movie was a hit or not.

Avery Deen and Carlie Morgan

 Carlie’s Pro Review:

To start off, it’s only fair that I mention I only read “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” once, and I don’t remember it very well. I can’t even recall the names of the second and third books in the series. What did stick with me after reading this book wasn’t the plotline (obviously) but the characters and the message supporting it. The book carried with it a sense of comfort, the idea that everyone was accepted in their peculiar home was a tone which was central to the movie.

The children in this odd home, though different from what little I remembered about them,  stayed true to the accepting tone of the novel, immediately welcoming Jake (Asa Butterfield) into their circle (with the exception of the resident ‘Angsty Teen’, Enoch played by Finlay MacMillian). The children’s “peculiarities,” as Emma (Ella Purnell) calls them, all have their place in advancing the plot, which adds to that aforementioned message of “everyone belongs somewhere.”

It’s the sense of belonging that I loved so much about this movie. Jack is introduced as a character whose life is particularly terrible; he has no friends, his job is terrible, his parents don’t understand him. In short, Jack has nothing going for him except for his supposedly demented Grandpa who’s taken from him in the first five minutes of the movie. Then suddenly, Jack is transported into this spectacular world where teachers turn into birds and time stops moving and he finally feels like he belongs somewhere. Even if that somewhere is a house full of very strange kids (looking at you Enoch).

The world of the peculiars is made so thrilling by the sense of impossibility and wonder surrounding it. From the children to the daily rewinding of time, this world is full of curious happenings and even curiouser people. I haven’t even touched on one of the most eccentric characters of the movie, Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) herself. I could write an entire review on Miss Peregrine alone, but sadly, this isn’t exclusively her movie (despite the name of the film). Peregrine effortlessly drives the beginning portion of the plot, before handing it off to the children she’s protected for so long and, in this reporter’s biased opinion, she looks gorgeous while doing it. Green does a brilliant job of capturing the essence of this larger than life character and showing off every angle of her personality.

Speaking of gorgeous, the visuals of this movie are beautiful, from the transformation of the house before and after the bombing to Emma’s sunken ship hideaway. While the final fight scene might not have been a battleship roaring back to life, it still had that same charmingness present throughout the rest of the film. The ending, though not true to the book, was heartwarming and saw the satisfying end to the film while emphasizing the message of acceptance which made Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children such an amazing series in the first place. It had its faults as an adaption, but as a standalone, this film hit all the right points.

Avery’s Con review:

When I heard they would be making a film adaptation of the book I so dearly loved, I was ecstatic. However, when the first trailers started to run and that haunting tune filled the theater and the characters appeared on the screen, I was confused. It seemed like all the weird little children were different, made older (or in some cases, younger), and their “peculiarities” changed. They felt hollow and completely unlike what I had expected.

The biggest issue for me was the whole Emma/Olive dilemma. In the books, Emma had control over fire and could conjure and bend it to her will, in the film she had…air? It was similar to what Olive once had in the novel, the unfortunate peculiarity of floating all the time, forcing her to wear lead shoes all the time. But even if what they were aiming for was a switch in peculiarities, it failed. Emma’s new abilities registered less with the old Olive and more with airbending from “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”

And then there’s Olive (Lauren McCrostie), poor Olive who was given the odd(er than usual) ability of being able to set anything she touched on fire. I think. She had to wear gloves to prevent things from combusting when she touched them it seemed. It was very unclear what her deal was though because they aged her up from around seven to sixteen. However, in this change she somehow held onto the mentality of a seven year old and was constantly being chided for her childish behavior. Though the most frustrating thing about the characters of Olive and Enoch is that they were both dramatically aged for the sole reason (as I can tell) of having a romantic relationship. As a result, it felt very forced and fake to me. Romance wise, the book focused mainly on Emma and Jake, making the Enoch/Olive thing come entirely out of left field.

The end of the movie was an absolute disaster, I can only assume that this movie will stand alone as the ending had bits and pieces of the second book, “Hollow City,” and it’s conclusion as well. And all traces of the story line covered in the third book, “Library of Souls,” were completely erased.

I will say, it wasn’t a total failure, the main theme, as Carlie pointed out, is acceptance, and though the storyline was drastically changed and the characters unrecognizable, the film did hold on to that.