Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Photo: Fox)

★★½ (out of four)
STARS Eva Green, Asa Butterfield

Tim Burton’s propensity to frolic with the freaks has informed the vast majority of his career, and his latest effort is no exception. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, adapted from the bestselling YA title by Ransom Riggs, finds the filmmaker hanging out at the titular orphanage, a place where such Burton protagonists as Edward Scissorhands and Jack Skellington would feel completely at home.

Come to think of it, so would the X-Men, since the establishment is basically a safe haven at which mutants can learn to control their special gifts. Screenwriter Jane Goldman, who co-wrote the x-cellent pair of X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past, doubtless agrees, fashioning her societal miscasts, all huddled under the protective eye of Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), as decent kids longing to belong to a world that rejects them.

The main thrust of the picture involves a young boy named Jake (Hugo‘s Asa Butterfield) hopscotching through time and getting caught in a Groundhog Day scenario where he must remain with the misfits of science as they protect themselves from fearful creatures led by the cackling, shape-shifting Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson, as anachronistic as ever). The story is overstuffed, incomplete and, frankly, not always terribly interesting. But, boy, does the film look great, thanks to the dazzling cinematography by multiple Oscar nominee Bruno Delbonnel (Inside Llewyn DavisAmélie), the resplendent costumes by multiple Oscar winner Colleen Atwood (Alice in WonderlandChicago), and the creepy creatures that sprung from the hands of the visual effects team and from the mind of Burton. The plotholes are plentiful at Miss Peregrine’s Home, but so is the razzle dazzle.


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