We just covered the book of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children for our September book club, where it met with a rather *ahem* mixed response. As the person responsible for the choice, one of the reasons I suggested this book is because I was intrigued by the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation. While the trailer looked very promising, reading the book did suggest that there may have been some difficulties in adapting it for film. The photograph conceit may have added an extra point of interest in the novel, but would easily hamper the already visual medium of film. The adaptation also has to contend with the book’s somewhat unsatisfactory ending, which is largely concerned with setting up for its sequel – something not guaranteed to the film.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for anticipation, but equally trepidation, towards this film comes from its director. Tim Burton established himself as a modern auteur with his early films, but has suffered diminishing critical returns on most of his later features. His last two literary adaptations, 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland from 2010, received particularly harsh criticism. However, Burton appears to be attempting to refresh his style at the moment, parting with frequent collaborators Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter and moving away from his traditional gothic wheelhouse with 2014’s Big Eyes. So could a move to the YA market and the pairing of Burton’s kooky darkness with Rigg’s peculiar children prove a winning formula? After all there are plenty of films that manage to rise above their source material.
SPOILER WARNING: The following review contains minor spoilers for the film and book of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children.