I've just seen the Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children movie, and while I enjoyed it, I do have some thoughts about the adaptation. So naturally, I'd thought I would share them here. Think of this a movie review, if you will.
I would just like to point out that I have only read the first book at this stage (having reread it during September). These are not all of my thoughts, just the ones I think are important (and that I can remember at this point in time).
Please note, the following will contain spoilers for those who haven't seen the movie yet.
Also note, that these are my personal thoughts and in no way a comprehensive movie review. It's really more of a comparison story wise.
Firstly, no book-to-movie/television adaptation is going to be perfect, or adapted exactly word for word. So there are many scenes and moments that didn't make the movie. I don't usually mind when this happens - a 300 page book needs to fit into a 2 hour movie, so something needs to be left out here and there. Yes, there were a few scenes that I wish had been included in the movie (which I'll get to soon), but there were also scenes that were altered or added that weren't in the book and sort of felt out-of-place.
So let's start with what I liked about the movie.
I particularly enjoyed the casting. The actors were definitely close to how I imagined the characters while reading the book. And while I, like most people, imagined Miss Peregrine as an old women, Eva Green was brilliant in the role, and is how I would have imagined Miss Peregrine in her younger days.
The children were great too. The twins were super creepy and straight out of the photo Ransom Riggs used in the novel, and when they revealed their peculiarly at the end, I can see why they needed to be masked - they were scary (and obviously dangerous). I really liked Bronwyn being a young girl, as opposed to being a teen the books. It made her super-strength peculiarly so much more unexpected. Enoch, on the other hand, really annoyed me. I enjoyed the character in the book, but he was so much more obnoxious in the movie. Although, I did love how they portrayed the relationship between Enoch and Olive.
Going into the movie, I thought the peculiarity switch between Emma and Olive was going to bug me, or make the characters come across differently than in the books, but I didn't really mind it. Both Ella Purnell and Lauren McCrostie did fantastically with their characters.
The setting for the home was brilliant. While I did imagine the house a bit differently (like I'm sure we all did), it felt so right when we first saw it onscreen. Both the destroyed and undestroyed versions were perfect.
As for the storyline, the beginning felt a bit jumpy, but once Jacob was in the loop, everything felt so familiar and I really enjoyed how that part was adapted. The Hollows were actually terrifying and reminded me of Slenderman. I don't really know how I imagined the Hollows from what they were described in the book, but I think they were portrayed so well. I really enjoyed the scene where Miss Peregrine kills the Hollow who continually returns like clockwork each day. It just really showed how bad-ass she is.
The flashbacks of Jacob and Abe were great, and I felt totally heartbroken for Abe when Jacob told him his stories were all lies and fake.
So, onto the bits that I had some issues with.
Firstly, the beginning. From the moment the movie started to when Jacob entered the loop, everything jumped from one event to another - if you hadn't read the book, I feel like you would be a little lost. It's not alluded to until the end of the movie how long it was between Abe dying and Jacob leaving for Cairnholm (three weeks, which is still a short time compared to what's mentioned in the book), so everything appears to happen very quickly.
I felt like we didn't get to see enough of Jacob and his dad. It's mentioned about three times that Franklin is there to study birds, and it's mentioned fleetingly that it's for a book. We don't really get to see his evolution from super excited to be there, to spending all day in the pub drinking. We also see very little of Jacob and Franklin's relationship, which I think is important in comparison to Jacob's relationship with Abe. One scene that I would have enjoyed seeing (although with the way to movie ended, I can see why it wasn't included), was where Jacob returns to the present to tell his father he's leaving, and you see Emma, Millard and Olive reveal their peculiarities. At the end of the day, we barely got to see Franklin, so I kind of forgot that he was even there.
A part that I felt was rushed was Jacob, Franklin and Susie cleaning out Abe's house. In the book, it shows the comparison with how Franklin and Susie see their father, to how Jacob sees his grandfather, and I think it was an important moment to show. I didn't particularly like how Franklin just comes out and says that he thought his father was cheating on his mother. There was no real reasoning for why they thought that, especially no mention of the letter from Emma. Although, this makes sense as it's never alluded to that Abe and Emma had a relationship, which is another aspect that's kind of important to the story.
One moment I found kind of found weird and unexplained is the phone call that Miss Peregrine receives from Abe, and then having Jacob answer the phone to his own grandfather in 1943. I'm not really hating on this aspect, but it just seemed underdeveloped and there just for the sake of having Jacob tell his grandfather that he missed him.
Speaking of Abe - I don't get why they needed to underplay the fact that he was Polish, Jewish and running from the Nazi's. It's mentioned about twice that that's one of the reasons why he went to Cairnholm. One thing I wish they had included was Abe's strong Polish accent when he was stressed and worried. It really added to his character in the book, and I think it would have been a really powerful moment in the film when he's on the phone with Jacob at the beginning.
Also on the subject of Abe - what was the purpose of the last half hour of the movie? Why was that added? Why did they bring Abe back? The whole story is kick-started when Abe dies and his death drives Jacob to find the Peculiars and help protect them. Yes, it's nice that's he's now alive, but it kind of defeats the purpose of him dying. And the end where he tells Jacob to go back to Emma through the loops felt so unrealistic.
And about the ending, the movie kind of went downhill from about the 1 & 1/2 hour mark - everything from them travelling to the 2016 loop onwards. While it was cool visually, especially the skeletons fighting the Hollows, it was such a weird turn in the movie. Freeing all the Ymbrynes and saving Miss Peregrine (to the point where she can actually turn back to herself) felt very final. Like there might not be a sequel. Tim Burton has said that he has sort of made it a standalone, and that it doesn't matter story-wise if the other two books aren't adapted, but I'm kind of disappointed with how it came to a close. It fell flat and very anti-climactic.
Overall, I did enjoy the movie. It had it's faults, and actually would have been so much better had it ended before all the weirdness in the end, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. I feel that people who haven't read the books will really enjoy it, although they could be a bit lost, but I think people who have read the books will find a few faults with how it's been adapted. This book had so much potential onscreen, and many aspects were great, but some fell very flat or were left out completely. While I do think Tim Burton was a great director choice, I think he let his peculiar creativity and imagination alter things a bit too much. I had high hopes for this movie, and it kind of didn't live up to them.
My recommendation it definitely read the book first before seeing the movie!
Let me know your thoughts on the movie if you've seen it! Please note that these are my personal thoughts and in no way a comprehensive movie review. We all have our own opinions.
See You Soon!