Tim Burton’s Odd Vision For ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children’

Tim Burton, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Tim Burton is known for his dark interpretations of fabled classics, and to judge by the film’s first teaser, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will be no different. Even so, fans of the Ransom Riggs books are already commenting on Burton’s deviations from the first book and how those differences will affect the movie as a whole.

What is Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children about, anyway?

As might be guessed by the title of the film, this latest Burton offering is set in an orphanage, but be warned, this is no ordinary home for wayward children. The orphans at Miss Peregrine’s are special, talented young ones, so, as might be presumed, those charged with their care are far above average as well.

Eva Green, of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, plays Miss Peregrine, and fans of the Ransom Riggs books know she’s no ordinary childcare worker.

“[Miss Peregrine is a] weird Mary Poppins like character—a strong and mysterious person who looks like she could turn into a bird. That’s Eva,” says Burton in describing Green’s character.

Audiences new to the story told in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will notice that it’s a world populated by strong, willful women. Aside from Ms. Green’s character, Dame Judi Dench plays the headmistress of another institution. Miss Avocet (Dench) isn’t nearly as cool and collected as Peregrine, which will become apparent all too quickly, says Tim.

Of the cast, Mr. Burton confessed to feeling a measure of apprehension about working with so many children, but the Beetlejuice filmmaker says they were all a delight to have on set. Tim also said that all of the children were so professional that he might not have guessed it was a first time for some of them.

Hasn’t Tim Burton earned enough trust to tinker with Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children in his own way?

Preceding the theatrical debut of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by just 200 days, the new trailer gives a two-and-a-half minute glimpse into the wonderfully overactive imaginations of Riggs and Burton. The trailer takes us from the oftentimes dull world of our reality into the magical, secret world of which Miss Peregrine’s school is a part. Here, we get just a small sampling of the wonders offered by this new world, such as Millard’s (Cameron King) invisibility, Bronwyn’s (Pixie Davies) strength, Fiona’s (Georgia Pemberton) plant growing, and Claire’s (Raffiella Chapman) extra mouth.

But what was that monstrosity at the end of the trailer? Ransom called it a Hallowgast, if that helps.

Yet here is where the Riggs loyalists diverge from diehard Burton fans. The most notable difference between the film and the book comes with a switching of powers, or peculiarities, between Emma Bloom (Ella Purnell) and Olive (Lauren McCrostie). Unlike the books, Olive is the fire starter in Tim Burton’s adaptation, while Emma is the floater.

This changes things in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and upsets a number of fans, but the author of the books isn’t nearly as miffed with the filmmaker.

“Guys, I just watched the Miss Peregrine movie. It’s absolutely extraordinary. My head is spinning. I can’t wait for you all to see it,” wrote Ransom Riggs to his Twitter followers.

He followed that high praise for Burton’s film with a comment, addressing the concerns of his fans.

“There are changes from the book, but every change makes the movie better while still honoring the book’s heart. It works beautifully.”

If the author can accept and even embrace the changes made in Burton’s adaptation, can’t audiences learn to love them as well. While Tim’s version of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children isn’t an exact duplicate of the literary work, it is, as usually is the case with Tim’s works, a beautiful creation of its own.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, starring Eva Green, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kim Dickens, will hit theaters on September 29.

[Image by 20th Century Fox]