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Film / Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

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The 2016 film adaptation of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, directed by Tim Burton and starring Eva Green in the title role.

Jacob (Asa Butterfield) finds himself in the fabled children's home of his grandfather's stories: an institution run by the mysterious Miss Peregrine, a woman who can turn into a bird. To avoid persecution, she keeps herself and the mysterious and powerful children (Peculiars) under her wing in a time loop, September 3, 1943.

But when a mysterious shapeshifter named Mr. Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) threatens the idyllic home, Jacob must aid Miss Peregrine and the Peculiars in staying alive.

Ella Purnell plays the aerokinetic Emma, Judi Dench plays Miss Avocet, and Terence Stamp plays Jacob's grandfather Abe.

The film contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Miss Peregrine was a bit more matronly in the books, though not ugly. Here, she's rather clearly a stunning woman.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Shelley, the Smart Aid manager, disliked Jacob in the book because he was always trying to get fired when the company kept him on due to nepotism. In the film, this is omitted and Shelley is supportive and helpful.
  • Adaptational Modesty: In the books, when ymbrynes transform into birds, they don't take their clothes with them. This was changed for the film. Justified in that, while Eva Green often gets naked in her movies, this is a family-oriented film.
  • Adaptation Expansion: We get to see more of the sense of routine in the loop, we see a few kinds of peculiarity never appearing in the books, and we actually witness, through storytelling/flashback, the failed experiment that created the hollowgast.
  • Adaptation Name Change: An extremely minor case, but Jacob, who never went by Jake in the books, always does in the film.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Jacob in the books is a very teenagery Deadpan Snarker who frequently gets irritated. In the film, Jake is a lot more innocent and kind.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change:
    • Emma's character now has Olive's peculiarity with wind elementalism on top of it, and Olive now has Emma's pyrokinesis.
    • In addition to the Prophetic Dream ability he has in the books, the film version of Horace can project the images from his dreams into the air through his right eye using a special lens.
    • In the books, wights do not have the peculiarities they had before their transformation. In the film, the wights shown still have their unique traits from when they were peculiars. For example, Mr. Barron is a Shapeshifter, and two Canon Foreigner wights include a cryokinetic man and half-monkey woman.
    • The method by which the hollows become wights is different. In the books itís achieved by absorbing a peculiarís soul, in the film itís by consuming a peculiarís eyes. It's more of a visual metaphor for devouring souls, since eyes are often referred to as "windows to the soul".
    • Jake can see hollows, but considering the very different and more happy ending, it's left unclear whether his more developed ability to communicate with and control them exists in this version.
  • Adapted Out: Ricky, Jacob's only friend, is left out of the film.
  • Age Lift: In addition to changing Olive's power from floating to fire, the film also ages her up to be of an age with Emma and Jake, while simultaneously aging down Bronwyn to be a small girl. Enoch is older than the book version, and Fiona, Millard, and Hugh are all younger than the book portrays them.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: For most of the movie Enoch displays quite a bit of annoyance at Emma ignoring his crush on her in favor of Abe or Jake, while at the same time he ignores Olives pining after him. Near the end of the movie he realizes this.
  • All There in the Manual: The wights are never named as such in the film; you'd have to have read the books to know their title. The most they're called here are "bad peculiars".
  • Almost Kiss: Between Jake and Emma before Enoch interrupts them.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The twins, who never speak, wear full-body costumes that cover their faces, and whose faces don't indicate anything when seen. They're never referred to by pronouns, and it's further complicated by Jacob seeing them as boys in the book, yet their Gorgon nature could indicate they're female given that the most famous ones are. They are played by boys, but this could be irrelevant given the lack of any gender indication in the film.
  • Animal Motifs: Miss Peregrine's human form is much more like her bird one here in comparison to the book, with talon-like nails, jerky avian movements, constantly-open eyes, and a peregrine-inspired wardrobe.
  • Ascended Extra: The masked twins. They only feature in a couple of photographs in the book, which give no clear indication of their peculiarity, and they are never seen in person. Here, they're under Miss Peregrine's care and they're gorgons.
  • Axe Before Entering: Barron shapeshifts his hand into an axe and chops through the door to the ymbrynes' holding room to get to Jake.
  • Benevolent Boss: Jacob's manager, Shelley, not only drives Jacob to his grandfather's home when Abe's own son couldn't be bothered, but she backs him up with a 0.357 when Jacob cries out that intruders had broken into Abe's home.
  • Bows Versus Crossbows: Despite Mr. Barron's taunts, Jacob's accuracy with Miss Peregrine's crossbow is actually pretty good. Crossbows are notorious for being easy to use and learn, but difficult to aim. Despite that, Jacob does manage to hit hollows with difficult shots on numerous occasions, even once shooting around Enoch to hit the hollow that was trying to kill him, wounding that same hollow numerous times while running from it, and sliding down the roof, and while he did miss Mr, Barron, the misses were very, very close, only an inch or two would have made the difference.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nobody believes Abe's stories about the hollows, the wights, or any of the peculiars. His own son even leaves him completely defenseless by stealing the key to his gun safe, to catastrophic results.
  • Composite Character:
    • Whilst Mr. Barron is the film counterpart of the unnamed wight who killed Abraham Portman (though it wasn't physically his doing; in fact he was rather put out) and stalked and manipulated his grandson Jacob in the form of psychiatrist Dr. Golan, his position as leader of the wights and Faux Affably Evil nature are taken from Miss Peregrine's evil brother; Caul Bentham.
    • Shelley the manager combines the same character from the book with Jake's friend Ricky, taking his role in the investigation at Abe's house.
    • The twins are based on the clownish ballerinas in the book, with more generic costumes here, yet their source of oddity seems to take the "eerily hidden faces" aspect from a photo in the book of two girls with their backs to the camera.
  • Creator Cameo: Director Tim Burton cameos as a confused fairground-goer during the battle between the hollowgasts and Enoch's skeletons.
  • Death by Adaptation: Miss Avocet is killed by a hollowgast, while she survives in the book. Her literary counterpart eventually dies in the final book of old age.
  • Death by Irony: Olive can conduct fire. She's temporarily frozen to death.
  • Fiery Redhead: Subverted by Olive, a Nice Girl who doesnít have any temper to speak of. For added irony her peculiarity is actually to make fire.
  • Gender Flip:
    • Jacobís male psychiatrist Dr. Golan from the novel is played by actress Allison Janney in the film. Subverted in that, like in the book Dr. Golan turns out to be the false identity of a male wight- here, he can shapeshift.
    • The very fact that female wights exist in this version is one. In the books, they (and by extension, hollowgast) are exclusively male for a very well-defined reason. Specifically, they were jealous of ymbrynes, who could only be female, which is what led them to conduct the ritual. Though it's not unreasonable that other peculiar women would be jealous of ymbrynes' peculiarities.
  • Dangerous Windows: Miss Avocet is snatched from the room by a hollowgast breaking through the window.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The long journey Jake undertakes to finally be reunited with Emma. It's only shown in a couple of key shots.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: As in the book, but the sense of repetition and the peculiars' familiarity with the day is shown with more events, like a fallen baby squirrel that must be replaced in its tree every day, and the addition of a hollow in the loop which must be killed every day like clockwork, always falling exactly into the outline drawn by Miss Peregrine.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Mr. Barron is killed by one of the hollowgasts he created because he assumed Jake's form, resulting in the hollowgast consuming his eyes because it believed he was Jacob.
  • Idiot Ball: Granted, Jake would have never found Abe's body and heard Abe's last words if he had stayed on the porch like Shelley asked, but the way he goes to investigate is exceptionally foolish. He goes to a mangled fence, in the middle of the night, picks up a flashlight with fresh blood on it, thus contaminating forensic evidence, and then goes through the mangled open hole to look around in a place with thick underbrush and many closely packed large trees. He could have been easily ambushed and killed.
  • Implausible Deniability: People buy the cover story, hook, line and sinker, that feral dogs ripped down the screen door to Abe's home from above head height, and mangled a rather sturdy steel fence, not to mention ate Abe's eyes while leaving the rest of his corpse untouched.
    "Dogs always go for the soft parts first."
  • Judgment of Solomon: Invoked in a brief visual gag. When Miss Peregrine walks by the twins, they're unsuccessfuly having a tug-of-war over a teddy bear. She actually does split it, tearing it down the middle, and gives each twin a half, satisfying them both.
  • Karmic Death: Mr. Barron is killed by having his eyes devoured by a hollowgast; the same thing he did to countless peculiar children over the years.
  • Lighter and Softer: The book was more young-adult in tone, with stronger language, brutal violence, and even a less kind protagonist. The film is more fantastical in its darkness, features clean dialogue, and makes Jake more agreeable, or at least not so defensive.
  • Look Both Ways: One of the wights gets hit by a train in the 2016 loop because he wasn't accustomed to such fast-moving vehicles.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The wight who had been stalking Jacob throughout most of his life goes unnamed in the book, but uses several aliases. These including "Mr. Barron" when posing as Jacob's fifth grade bus-driver and "Dr. Golan" as Jacob's psychiatrist; the later of which the other characters continue to refer to him as, even after The Reveal. The film uses the former alias as the wight's actual name.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In the final confrontation, Mr. Barron basically ensures his own death when he shapeshifts into Jacob's form and is killed by a hollowgast.
  • No-Sell: Horace's ability to project dreams is completely and utterly useless in a fight, with Barron faking distress for a second when this ability is used on him before laughing it off and shove Horace aside.
  • Parental Neglect: While Jacob's dad is physically present, he is so wildly irresponsible, and detached, that Jacob gains absolutely no benefit from him being nearby. In fact, the few times Jacob's father actually pays any attention to his son, it's always in a way to serve as The Millstone, as well as utterly insulting him and Abe.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The ending and the events leading up to it are much different than in the first book, as well as having several characters acting somewhat differently and/or being vastly different characters than in the book. These changes can be explained by the filmmakers wanting a more action-packed finale and to avoid tying the film's story to a sequel that may never surface. The changes work to make the film work either as a standalone piece or as part of a potential series.
  • Race Lift: Whilst his race is never explicitly mentioned in the novel, based on both the photograph the character was based on that was included in the book and the fact that wights are stated to be so indistinctive that they can look like anyone else with simple prosthetics; it can be assumed that the wight who stalked the Portmans is Caucasian. In the film, his counterpart Mr. Barron is played by African-American actor Samuel L. Jackson. However, he is a shapeshifter in the film, and does take on Caucasian forms as disguises.
  • Running Gag: Jacob trying to hit the wights like Miss Peregrine, and missing literally every time. Lampshaded by Mr. Barron.
  • Shout-Out:
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: In the final moments of the film, Emma plants a kiss on Jake while the latter tries to explain how he got back to her.
  • Single Substance Manipulation: Emma Bloom, who can manipulate air (such as making air bubbles to breathe underwater, or blowing powerful wind gusts). A side effect of her power is her body is lighter than air, and she would float away helplessly without a pair of heavy lead boots to weigh her down.
  • Spot the Imposter: In the climax, Barron shapeshifts into Jake so Emma and Enoch don't know who is who as both stand side by side. Barron can't see the hollowgast approaching, however, and since he looks like Jake, he is subsequently killed by it.
  • Stop Motion: Used to depict the objects Enoch animates.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Miss Avocet is suddenly killed by a hollowgast in a middle of a speech.
  • Take Me Instead: Miss Peregrine offers herself up for the life of Jake.
  • Taken for Granite: Combined with Literally Shattered Lives. The twins are revealed to be gorgons. They petrify one of the wights and once she becomes a statue, she falls to her death, shattering into pieces... perhaps to ensure we know she won't be trapped as a statue forever. Apparently that would be too cruel, even for a wight.
  • Tear-Apart Tug-of-War: Played with when the twins are fighting over a teddy bear. Miss Peregrine takes the bear from them, tears it in half, and gives one half to each twin, who then seem happy.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Downplayed, but present. At the start of the movie, Jacob's school mates respond to seeing him work at a retail establishment by taking an item from the display he's setting up, and then throwing it back, ruining the display before walking out of the store, laughing. Later in the movie, when Jacob is looking for the children's home, his father pays two teenage strangers to "guide" him there, and they direct Jacob through a bog while laughing at him from the safety of a paved road, and then later tell him, to his face, that they would only be willing to spend time with him when they're paid. Then there's Enoch, although in his case, it's more of being a Crazy Jealous Guy to Olive. Enoch does get better about it though.
  • Time Passes Montage: A time lapse is used to show the loop resetting, with a visual rewind of the time the inhabitants lived through.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: How the loops work, at least in the movie. At first when Jake enters and leaves the loop, the same amount of time seems to have passed on both sides (excepting for the reset within the loop). If anyone from within the loop spends too long in Jake's time (2016, when the loop is stuck in 1943), they will rapidly age until they are the age they would have been in 2016 (as shown with a flower). When the loop collapses, anyone inside is returned to the moment the loop was created. But then when the wight who killed Jake's grandfather dies in a loop months before that happened, and the loop collapses, Abe was never killed even though it was in the personal past of both Jake and the wight. Despite the aging effect of leaving a loop in the future from said loop, doing it in the past does not seem to have a de-aging effect. And then at the end Jake is somehow able to go from 2016 back to 1942 by navigating loops (presumably without making them collapse, which their ymbrynes would not have agreed to). Confused yet?
  • Un Spoken Plan Guarantee: Jake's plan for the final confrontation is not revealed and thus goes down almost as planned.
  • You Need a Breath Mint: Mr Barron says this to Emma, after she has kept him pressed against the wall with a long and powerful gust of wind from her mouth.