Once again, our date had ended with us driving by the clogged streets beside the local movie theater and watching the growing crowd with disdain. No Rogue One. The alternative was to settle in front of the TV at home and watch something on the PlayStation 4. My husband chose “Mrs. Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children", a choice that left us aghast in one form or another for the next hour and a half.
I have never read The Peculiar Children trilogy, and I never had much interest. I am one of those ridiculous literary fiction snobs who has a hard time opening a book that isn’t marked as a Classic in some form or another. The movie did catch my interest. The odd mixture of the whimsical and the horrific drew my attention and the trailers offered a glimpse into what looked like a promising Tim Burton film.
If you’ve ever been disappointed by a promising film, you probably know exactly how I felt when the scenes began to play out, losing momentum with each progressive twist. Before long my husband and I began referring to the film as “Swiss Cheese” because of the plot holes that kept popping up. That, I suppose, is to be expected when dealing with something as volatile as time travel and super powers.
It wasn’t all bad. There were some genuinely creepy moments that, though they weren’t allowed to have their full impact, truly got under your skin. The scene of a carefully preserved dead body, letting loose a tear after reanimation was haunting and foreboding. The first sight of the eyeless, hulking creatures that were reminiscent of Creepy Pasta’s “Slender man” was truly terrifying. It was even more so when you discovered that the only way these creatures could be seen by most of the characters was through their shadows. The children were all interesting and each character stood out. Mrs. Peregrine, in particular, was a character that I was quite enamored with.
But for all its good points, here is what this film failed to realize: belief can only be suspended so far. If you are going to tell a story about fantastical elements, everything else in your story has to be strong enough to anchor the plot, or you lose all impact.
Maybe this is a good lesson for our everyday fantasies as well. We want to say that our dreams are all possible if we just believe but we need more than just that. We need boots on the ground.
What were your thoughts on this film? Did you enjoy it, or was it a disappointment for you?