I never read the book Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but after seeing the movie last night, I wish that I had taken this phantasmagoric trip into the squirmy delirium of the author's mind. Upon its completion, I couldn't imagine another director that could handle the odds and ends of this peculiar tale better than Tim Burton. In much the same way as fairy tales can lend themselves to shocking moments by throwing an old woman in an oven or meeting a girl with no hands, the movie captures this same kind of viscera by giving us a Lovecraftian villain that has to eat human eyeballs in order to not be monstrous. How undeniably clever.
Asa Butterfield is Jake (who is perhaps at the lankiest that I have ever seen him), and he's a good hero for the story. I liked seeing a male cast in a sympathetic role, as the thing that makes him most peculiar is his ability to see the monsters coming. It's an interesting twist, because unlike Cassandra in the Iliad, Jake's ability to see the evil coming is believed by everyone, and it's through their unique combination of talents that all the peculiar children manage to come together to protect one another.
The one negative criticism that I have for the movie (I think) is entirely me. I found it difficult to keep track of the timeline and the loops through time. It was a fascinating (and ingenious) way to create bubbles of fantasy in our modern reality, and it lent the movie an "Alice in Wonderland" feel. But my mind kept wanting to try and resolve how things worked exactly, and sometimes I got confused with the looping and wondering why sometimes they could emerge in 2016, and at other times they were in 1943.
But perhaps all that we were supposed to take from the story is wonder. After all, how often is it that you see a boy walking with a rope tied to the waist of a girl who's floating like a balloon behind him? Maybe that's the stuff that dreams are made of.