If there was ever property tailor-made for director Tim Burton, it’s Ransom Rigg’s vintage photo-inspired “Miss Peregrine” book series.
The novel “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” published in 2011, is a gothic fantasy horror story about children with peculiar abilities — in the Marvel Universe, they’d probably be X-Men — and a healthy dose of time travel, illustrated entirely with old-school photography.
This adaptation comes from Burton and screenwriter Jane Goldman, writer of “X-Men” movies (“First Class” and “Days of Future Past”) and fun genre flicks (“Kick-Ass,” Kingsman: The Secret Service”).
“Miss Peregrine’s” can be a somewhat complicated plot to distill down, but here we go: Florida teen Jake (Asa Butterfield) spent his childhood hearing outrageous stories from his grandfather Abraham (Terence Stamp) about the Welsh children’s home he grew up in, where his pals had all sorts of peculiarities.
One girl is lighter than air; another has a toothy monster mouth on the back of her neck; a boy is invisible.
They’re watched over by the pipe-smoking Miss Peregrine (an excellent Eva Green, who looks a lot like Burton’s former muse Helena Bonham Carter), who has some unique abilities of her own.
After the mysterious death of his grandfather, Jake heads off to Wales and the children’s home on a quest to better understand his grandfather’s stories and gain some closure.
When he gets there, he discovers that his grandfather’s friends were real, and not only that, they’re living in a loop, a single day on repeat.
Specifically, Sept. 3, 1943.
They’re hiding from an evil group of peculiars and their horrific invisible monsters called the Hollows.
Time travel can always be confusing and, lets be honest, it often doesn’t make much sense.
You can tear apart “Back to the Future” if you really start to think about it too much. So leave that sort of logic at home.
What makes “Miss Peregrine’s” really sing is that classic Burton touch.
The Victorian gothic set design is beautiful and immersive, as you’d expect from a Burton film.
Green, with her expressive eyes and calm coolness, leads a strong cast of young stars including Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Lauren McCrostie and Finlay Mac Millan.
And it's just great to see Burton in vintage form.