“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” Drag Queen Review

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Stixen’s Spoiler-Free Summary

Do you enjoy films that offer solid performances, great visuals and a couple shaky plot points? Well then, this film is for you! Especially if you’re a fan of Eva Green!

Warning! Spoilers Lurk Below!

Me: So, thoughts going into the movie vs. coming out?

Stixen: Going in… I was hoping for something a bit like X-men, I think, with a 40’s twist. Coming out, I wasn’t sure what to think. On a whole, it was a well-done film. Visually stunning. Solid acting all around. But I still felt that the bitter elements left me questioning how much I truly “liked” the film. Your thoughts?

Me: Similar. I think the movie solved some of the book’s difficulties, such as pacing, but then the ending left me a bit bewildered.

Stixen: Agreed! I read some of the book and the pacing killed me. I never got to the mansion because the book was ridiculously long-winded. As you mentioned, it’s almost written as a non-fiction piece.

Me: Yeah, the book is written like creative nonfiction, which is an entirely different beast. I have to say, one of the biggest surprises of the whole film was that the guy from IT Crowd was playing a father.

 

Stixen: Yeah! He was also in Bridesmaids where he played a Scottish cop, which he was pretty remarkable at.

Me: The highlight of the cast was obviously Eva Green, though.

Stixen: Of course! Without Eva, I don’t know how interested I’d be in this film. She’s clearly the “drag” in this film, for me. But could anyone have done it better? I doubt it. Her performance was pretty stunning as usual.

Me: I particularly enjoyed how she ate.

Stixen: I can’t quite recall that if I’m being honest.

Me: The way she held and used her hands was extremely bird like, and she tore into her food like a predator, rather than taking small mouthfuls and chewing like a human.

What were your thoughts on costumes and the production design?

Stixen: I mean, I think that’s where Burton’s films usually shine. Overall, the movie is a visual masterpiece. But, I think that’s one of the many reasons why Tim has gone under fire as of late. Me: He relies a bit too much on the visual aspect and lets other things, aka the plot, fall to the wayside.

Stixen: Speaking of which, he has come under fire recently for making some comments about how films have become too politically correct. I found that interesting, considering the only person of color in the film is the villain. What’re your thoughts on that?

Me: In part, that’s the book’s fault, but it’s dangerously easy for those with both power and privilege to make those kinds of complaints. It’s funny that people who talk about rising to the challenge can’t bear to include powerful women, people of color, or diverse sexual identities in their work. Burton has blazed so many new trails in cinema. It’s a shame he lapsed to using such a trite complaint as “politically correct.” As for the movie, it almost felt like SLJ was too aware of his status as sole POC and over sold it a bit. While everyone else had a kind of restrained elegance, regardless of their peculiarities, he was loud, chatty, and made lack luster jokes throughout. He almost felt like a stereotype from a very different age of cinema.

Stixen: I agree. I’ve become more and more uncomfortable as of late when films make such blatant racial commentary. Even though I know many film makers aren’t conscious about these choices, I think that’s the point many people are trying to make. Even if it’s a mere accident, in times like these, it sends a dangerous message.

As for Burton, I couldn’t have been more disappointed with his words. I’ve always been a fan of his work and the messages he sends with his films. I find the politically correct argument kind of dull and bitter, especially coming from someone like Burton who clearly seems to understand what it’s like to feel alone and misunderstood. It’s funny that you mention SLJ’s performance, because you’re right. Burton’s films spend plenty of time focusing on the tall, gangly loner hero with a suspiciously familiar mop of raven hair- but the rest of the characters are left to fend for themselves to get attention. So, I’m not too surprised the SLJ’s character came off as a stereotype because he was sloppily written as one.

Me: It almost feels like Burton has lost his eye for detail in everything but design. The characters and plot have suffered in a lot of his recent work.

Stixen: Too true, unfortunately. His early work just seemed a lot more innocent, less convoluted. But, I digress. Did you have any thoughts on the two love stories in this film? Because I left a bit confuzzled by both. On the one hand, we have a girl who develops feeling for a boy, partially just because he looks like his grandpa who she clearly had a thing for. And on the other, we have a vaguely psychotic boy who ends up with the girl he clearly cast off multiple times in favor of the film’s female lead. It all felt a bit underdeveloped.

Me: That was one thing the book did better. The book had a sense of history that the film tried but somewhat failed to convey. Time felt flat in the film, even though they traveled through several different decades/centuries. Without that feeling of history, the stories don’t work. The secondary love story is motivated by the changing situation. The guy doesn’t feel rushed, because these people will ALWAYS be in his life. Always. Then, suddenly, time is moving again, and it would make sense for him to flounder and find his feet. But, once again, without the sensation of time moving/stopping/existing apart, it’s impossible to relay any of that.

Stixen: Those are all excellent points. The difference in time didn’t feel very pronounced. As for the second love story- that’s a great way to think about it. That never crossed my mind. I think, for me, I felt like I was watching a preteen Harley/Joker dynamic. The guy was clearly very vindictive and manipulative so I left feeling a bit uncomfortable with the idea that he magically liked the fire girl now and all was well! But I think if the movie had given us a moment in which the fire girl does something impressive, such as taking down one of the massive monsters and the boy taking note- the love story would’ve felt a bit less rushed and out of context.

Me: Agreed. The design really was wonderful, though.

Stixen: Very true! If there was a sequel, would you watch it?

Me: I might, but I think they wrapped up the ending pretty tightly.

Stixen: If they ended up doing that, I’d like to see it taken over by someone like Guillermo Del Toro. Someone with a similarly dark, whimsical style but with a bit more attention to the details of the characters. I think Pan’s Labyrinth proved that he can handle a story like this.

Me: I’d watch anything he makes! So, what did you enjoy about the film?

Stixen: There was a lot I liked. The cast was all very solid. Everyone gave great performances. The visuals were rad and, as spotty as the plot was, it was a fun flick. While I wouldn’t see it again- it was entertaining and worth the watch.

Official Heel Rating:

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I would give it 3 1/2 heels.


M. Leigh Hood is a rare beast of the Cincinnati wilderness typically preoccupied with writing, nerding, and filming The Spittoon List. For more articles and stories by M. Leigh Hood, look HERE.

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