My girlfriend is an avid moviegoer. She always strategically plan our weekends to squeeze together the important activities like going to church or a family gathering and the particularly trivial ones like choosing the best time to visit a certain restaurant just to avoid the crowd of people having their lunch.
Her priority, however, is saving whatever we can through discounts and freebies. So just imagine how excited she was when we received free tickets for a screening of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
So the movie started. Some people were late, as always. There were kids all around. The movie demands for children to be around. The title says it all. There was a vibe of positive anticipation at the cinema that was just contagious — probably electric. Then the plot unfolded like you are skimming through a newly published, amateur book in the bookstore for free. It felt hopeful at first then eventually you were left hoping incessantly that it would become better as you turn the pages. But you are left disheartened, thinking that the writer will remain a struggling one unless, by some miracle, an A-list matinee idol accepts the role of the lead character when it's adapted into a film. It was extremely disappointing.
Asa Butterfield's performance was just bland and just not memorable enough in this movie. His character was not even developed enough for you to even remember the moral ground he stands for. He was an unwilling hero, a peculiar child himself raised in the normal world but he didn't project feeling at home around peculiar children. He seemed like an outsider in both worlds.
There were just a lot of scenes that could be deleted in this film. Repeatedly portraying the father's chaperoning his son is understandable but unnecessary. The skeleton fight scene at the carnival was laughable. Even Samuel L. Jackson's appearance is not enough to make the movie better than an episode of a toddler cartoon series.
Truly there the magical, whimsy feel of the movie has a Tim Burton trademark all over it. But there was just nothing new in this film that would leave you thinking when you are waiting for your girlfriend outside the washroom after the movie. It's something that you would just wait to watch in HBO. Or not.