Released: 2016 Run time: 2 hours, 8 minutes
“When his beloved grandfather leaves Jake clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds a magical place known as Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers – and their terrifying enemies. Ultimately, Jake discovers that only his own special peculiarity can save his new friends.”
So two days after I finished the book I spot the film DVD when out shopping, so naturally I buy it in order to compare the book and the film and see which one I prefer and how the film adapts the book.
Overall, the film was good, however it is quite a lot different from the book.
I want to start by talking about the characters, the main character Jake (more commonly refered to as Jacob in the book) is played by Asa Butterfield and I thought he was actually a really good fit for the character and was close as to what I had pictured when reading the book. However, here’s where it gets different, in the book Jacob falls for Emma, the Peculiar girl who has pyrotechnic powers, and yet in the film Emma has the ability to control air and levitate. Now in the book the character Olive is the levitating girl, who is in that iconic photo from the cover of the book who looks to be around 7, and yet in the film Olive appears to be the same age as Emma (presumably 16) and she has the pyrotechnic abilities. This did work great for the film and if you’ve never read the book really doesn’t make much difference but as someone who had literally just finished the book it bothered me a little as I expected the film to be closer to the book. As for other characters, the Hollowgast was nothing like I imagined, it was better. I loved the way the Hollowgast looked, this gigantic creature whose limbs could actually punctuate its victims faces in order to consume it. Talking of, in the book we aren’t told much about the way the Hollowgast kills its victims, it just does. Whilst in the film it is much more gruesome, the Hollowgast actually consumes its victims eyeballs by taking them out with the tentacles in its mouth (as mentioned in book) or with its long pointy limbs. So when we see Jake at the beginning with his dead Grandpa Abe his eyes are actually missing with just two black holes remaining where they were. I really liked this as it made the film so much more dark and eerie but that is Tim Burton’s style anyway.
As for the main Antagonist, I really liked the addition of an actual character, I say this as in the book the main Antagonist is just ‘a Wight’ the type of Peculiar that has no powers but can travel through Loops. But in the film we have Samuel L. Jackson playing ‘Barron’, the scientist who created the Wights and the Hollowgasts. This was much better to have an actual source of where these things came from and Barron had some great lines written for comic relief in the film, I really enjoyed his as the Antagonist, this was a really good idea to come up with his character. The final character I want to talk about is actually Abe Portman (Jacob’s Grandad). I can’t say I liked the actor chosen (Terence Stamp) for me he just wasn’t Abe Portman, I don’t think his voice or personality matched Abe from the book, this I think was a bad choice of actor and badly written lines. Maybe he could be exactly how others imagined him, but for me he was wrong and hence I didn’t enjoy his scenes and therefore the first third of the movie.
As for the actual plot of the film, it was fairly close to that of the book just moved along faster which I can understand because it would’ve ended up being a very long movie else. I found the first half of the movie was closer to the events of the book than the second half. At the end of the book the children chase the Wight across their island of Cairnhorn to the light house at which the main confrontations happens that just includes Jacob, Emma, Bronwyn and Millard. In the film the children instead all have to travel across to Blackpool in pursuit of Barron, under the Blackpool tower is where the final showdown actually happens and it involves all the children, like Hugh, Horace, Olive and Enoch. This worked really well making it much more dramatic.
In summary I guess it’s all down to what different people visualise when reading the book as for characters and setting and as for plot Burton obviously wanted to make it more dramatic (for example Miss Peregrine being the proud owner of a crossbow) in order to bring in more viewers and to have an overall more dramatic story.
Final Verdict: I liked the book better, but I don’t think the film was at all bad. I would recommend it still.