Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Since Johnny Depp sat this one out, people may have missed the fact that Tim Burton directed MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN, but it doesn’t take long before it becomes obvious that Burton was behind the lens. The film is actually based on a popular children’s book series by Ransom Riggs (best name ever?), even though I had never heard of it before it became a movie. The story is actually kind of fascinating, especially when you add in the time loop variable to it, but it doesn’t always connect with the audience.
Jake (Butterfield) is a kid that appears to be an outcast in most areas of his life, but finds comfort in the company of his grandpa Abe (Terrance Stamp). Abe has been telling his grandson crazy stories about people with strange powers that fought monsters and Jake has always struggled understanding what was real and what wasn’t. But one day Jake goes to see Abe and finds Abe lying in the backyard. With his dying breath, Abe begs Jake to go find “the island” and seek out Miss Peregrine and the children. With the help of a pushy psychiatrist, Jake convinces his dad to take him to the island. That’s where he finds Miss Peregrine and the group of peculiar children, each with their own special ability. Of course, they are not safe and are being hunted by the evil Barron (Jackson) and only Jake can save the day.
I have no idea who this movie was made for. The story is very kid-friendly and follows a lot of the same young adult or kid series that we’ve seen over the years where an outcast kid discovers he’s special and has to save the day, but it does so with a dark, goth flare that only Tim Burton can bring to life. But that kind of leads us to the problem, which is the fact the film is too dark and scary at times to be viewed by the audience I assume they’re aiming for. For example, those evil hollows that are the villains in the film actually hunt down the peculiar children so they can eat their eyeballs and turn into human form. And yes, all of that is displayed visually in the film. That’s a disturbing concept for an adult, much less someone that hasn’t gone through puberty. But with that said, Tim Burton is obviously holding it in here and therefore the film never goes full on horror (even though it easily could have), which means older teenagers and adults probably won’t be able to get into it.
Aside from the audience focus problem, MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN suffers from characters we don’t really know anything about. I actually found Abe to be more interesting, partly because I’m closer to being the old man than the young kid, but also because I found his story and background more interesting. He was with Miss Peregrine in the 40’s and then spent years hunting down hollows. I think that’s a great story. Jake, however, was just a loner kid that inexplicably ended up on the island to chase down crazy stories he heard from his grandpa. I might be contradicting myself here, but we needed more set up for Jake while at the same time getting to the peculiars quicker. Burton spent too much time in the first half of the film on meaningless scenes, when all the audience wanted to do was get to the actual home of peculiar children.
I feel like I’ve said this a lot about movies released in 2016, but it’s true for MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN as well; there’s nothing inherently wrong with the film, it just doesn’t connect to the audience and takes too long to get going. I still really like the story, which I’m sure is much better in book form.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: The Blu-ray of MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN looks fantastic, but I would say this 4K UHD takes things up a bit. Detail is much sharper, especially during the sunny, outside shots. As Jake was being led around outside during his introductions, I noticed considerably more detail with virtually every character, with the backgrounds looking sharper and clearer than on the Blu-ray counterpart. The HDR comes through in the darker scenes, specifically the final showdown between the peculiars and the hollows. Overall, this is a great looking 4K UHD and is a decent upgrade over the Blu-ray.
Audio: We get a nice Dolby Atmos track, which is a sizeable upgrade over the DTS track on the Blu-ray. This is a booming track that makes great use of the surround channels.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no 4K exclusive features included on the 4K disc, but it does include a copy of the Blu-ray, which has the following special features:
The Peculiars: We get a detailed look at all of the peculiars, but it’s stretched out due to the over abundance of cut scenes from the movie.
The Peculiar Story (12:50): The author talks about the story and how he was inspired to write it.
Hollows and Ex-Hollows (9:25): A featurette focusing on the bad guys.
Map of Days (17:40): This featurette looks at the time loops in the film.
There’s also a Music Video, Gallery and Trailers