‘Miss Peregrine’ leaves fans wanting more


Promotional image for “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children”

By Audrey Fisher, Round Table photo editor

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is another example of a book-to-movie conversion going completely wrong.

The “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” book series is a fascinating and incredible trilogy written by Ransom Riggs. This summer, movie trailers were released to the press that showcased what was to come. Die-hard book lovers, action movie binge-watchers and thousands more were hanging on the edges of their seats for the entire six months they had to wait to see the movie.

For those who have never read the trilogy, it starts in Englewood, Florida. Englewood is a deadbeat town where a teenage boy named Jacob Portman works at his family-owned drugstore, Smart Aid. When we first meet Jacob, he is at work and purposely wreaking havoc, hoping to lose his job. He then gets a worrying call from his grandfather, Abe, who has dementia. Jacob hurries home to him.

Getting home too late and finding his dying grandfather, he hears his last words, which send him diving into his grandfather’s past. Jacob recalls all of the times that his grandfather would tell him stories about an odd group of children who lived on a tiny island named Cairnholm that was just outside of Wales.

As Jacob continues to look into his grandfather’s past, his family accuses him of being crazy like his grandfather. After a few “psychotic breaks”, Jacob and his psychiatrist, Dr. Golan, convince his parents to let him and his father go to Cairnholm.

While there, Jacob digs through his grandfather’s past, creating an epic plot filled with love, adventure and fright. The novel is well-written and passionate and causes the reader to feel like they are on this adventure with Jacob, too.

When the movie trailers came out, it became extremely hyped. Thousands of YouTube videos were made, articles were written and conversations were spoken, all about speculation of what this movie could bring. When the movie finally came out on Sep. 30 in the United States, theatres were packed. All of the trailers were dramatic and action-packed, catching the eyes of everyone.

If only it had lived up to its potential.

Though directed by Tim Burton – a director known for iconic movies such as “Beetlejuice” and “Edward Scissorhands” – “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” was hardly outstanding.

For the age-old fans of the book, it was simply disappointing. The movie hardly followed the plot of the trilogy, was smashed into the length of one movie and repeatedly messed up key details from the book. This goes as far as mixing up the abilities of the main characters.

For the first half of the movie, the directors and screenwriters did an admirable job of following the plot. Though some of the characters were switched, diminished or changed, it looked, sounded and felt exactly how someone who had read the book would have imagined.

Nearly after that, though, it took a turn for the worst. The plot of the book was soon forgotten and the movie became more of an action-packed fight movie rather than an intricate story of lost time and love. Though the special effects were amazing, the movie was not fluent nor well-executed. The plot turned from two lovers fighting for a world they would soon lose to a confusing 30-minute fight scene where not much was explained.

In the book, Emma Bloom – a main character who slowly falls in love with Jacob – has the peculiarity to control fire. Olive Elephanta has the ability to fly. In the movie, these two roles are reversed and Emma can fly while Olive controls fire.

If Emma had not been one of the main characters in the trilogy, this would not have been a huge mistake. But, because Emma’s fire is often the reason that she and Jacob get out of dangerous situations alive, it was not plausible. It caused confusion throughout the plot and made Emma come off as a nosy blond girl who can’t really do much, let alone fight for herself.

The most dramatic scene that we see with Emma is when she is blowing air into the face of the most dangerous Wight, Barron. Other than that Emma does not do much, hiding the true kindness in her character.

Though “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” was a movie that was filled with wonderful effects that made the viewer feel like they were part of the action, it was not accurate to the books and explained little to nothing of how the plot worked together. The movie had enormous potential and it caught the eyes of many people across the world, but it was a major let-down in the end.