Posted March 18, 2016 by Denice De Guzman in Books

Why Give the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Adaptation a Chance?

A couple of days ago, the trailer for the film adaptation of Ransom Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children dropped, to mixed reviews. In case you missed it, here is the trailer again:

Admittedly, this is not the somber tone we have come to expect from director Tim Burton, nor does it reflect the almost goth qualities of the book, whose premise of an orphanage housing children with strange powers was woven from a collection of odd vintage photographs. If you haven’t read the book, this is probably a good time to announce SPOILERS! But if you have and you’re a fan of the series, I understand the hesitation – unlike other novels, Ransom Riggs has already supplied our imaginations with not only the descriptions in the book, but also photos that helped bring these characters to life in our heads.

Ransom Rigg's novel vs. Tim Burton's alt!X-men

Ransom Rigg’s novel vs. Tim Burton’s alt!X-men

Many found it unsettling that the peculiar children were altered – Emma Bloom, the de facto leader of Miss Peregrine’s orphans, no longer has her firestarter powers. Instead, she is given peculiarity over air, bestowing on her the powers that the book had ascribed to young Olive Elephanta, the iconic “levitating girl” on the bestselling novel’s cover above.

Nope, not the cast of Sinister.

Nope, not the cast of Sinister.

Based on the trailer, there have been several changes in the other characters as well – Olive, who now bears book!Emma’s powers, is older and she is not the only one. It seems that strong woman Bronwyn, flower-sprouter Fiona, and beekeeper Hugh are also made much younger than their book versions.

The peculiar children

At least Millard the invisible boy still looks the same.

On the other hand, Enoch, the wonderfully creepy dead-raiser is portrayed by a teen, which makes complete sense since he really has the most goth-emo peculiarity of all the kids anyway. Claire, Horace and Millard all retain their ages and powers, though Horace’s eye projector from the trailer seems quite new.

Regardless of these changes though, it looks like the adventures of the peculiar children will remain as fun and wistful as the original story. Sure, Helena Bonham-Carter, who has been speculated to take on the role of the titular Miss Peregrine, broke up with the director (We’re still in mourning) so that’s not gonna happen, but  the beautifully strange Eva Green is far from a shoddy compromise.


Like Professor X, except with more hair and eyeliner.

There is no drought of stellar actors as well, with Dame Judi Dench sharing ymbryne duties as Miss Avocet. Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids, the guy Jane Foster dated in Thor: The Dark World) plays the lead character’s dad, and the inimitable Terrence Stamp (Chancellor Valorum of the Galactic Republic himself!) plays Abraham Portman, Jacob’s grandfather. Samuel L. Jackson also makes an appearance in the trailer as a wight, which you know is already bad*ss and legit scary.

And then there is Asa Butterfield. The boy from Hugo has come a long way – this time working with visionary director Tim Burton. The director himself also has a new chance to surprise and delight after the recent letdowns. Where you expect him to be somber and dark and digital like his stint with Through the Looking Glass, also out this year, it seems like Burton is taking Miss Peregrine to a more of an Edward Scissorhands stroll, and hopefully back to the form where audiences loved him: the way he blends the vibrancy of a location shoot with the grim plot and otherwise creepy characters is something that we missed. “It was nice to shoot on location,” he says, “to be connected to a place and geography while having people actually floating, as opposed to doing it all digitally.” 


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children may not stay completely faithful to the book, but it still deserves its chance to wow and awe, especially with such a stellar cast and a very able director. It’s not like they completely shat on the book either — the teaser first appeared online on September 3 last year, which is a tiny Easter Egg in itself. Besides, if you don’t support this film, how else can you exercise that disturbing feeling of having your lead character date his grandfather’s ex?


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children opens in theatres in September 2016.


Denice De Guzman

Denice is currently the FlipGeeks team nanny. She has an unhealthy obsession with David Bowie, and is currently addicted to the Hamilton musical, which she inflicts on any stranger she meets. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram, but she demands a tribute of rum.