The first trailer for Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is here and whilst acclaimed cult film director Tim Burton, the director of Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and The Corpse Bride amongst others is a perfect fit for the film I can’t say I’m that enamoured by this first trailer.
The best selling books by Ransom Riggs have a some interesting ideas and characters, and they get pretty dark at times something which isn’t exactly inferred by the surprisingly bright colour palette here which seems to be selling it as a whimsical fantasy adventure.
The books tell the story of Jacob who sets out to find a mysterious orphanage on an isolated island after suffering horrific nightmares after his grandfather Abraham (Terence Stamp), who used to tell him fantastical stories of the children in the orphanage he lived at, dies in the strangest of circumstances. Determined to prove to his father Franklin (Chris O’ Dowd) and his therapist Dr Golan (gender switched for the film and played by Allison Janey) that his Grandfather Abraham wasn’t a paranoid crazy type he sets off to find the orphanage his grandfather told him so many stories about.
Fans of the book will notice numerous changes in the trailer, one of the most notable being the roles of Emma (Ella Purnell) and Olive (Lauren McCrostie),who has also been aged up, have been switched along with Olive getting strange new powers, “Air is my peculiarity”. Emma is the one that initially befriends Jacob in the books and there’s also a reason for the two of them getting closer, which is a major part of the story throughout the books. Besides that though Emma is a bit of a feisty badass, who can not only wield flames as her peculiarity but also nearly very nearly kills Jacob on their first meeting mistaking him for someone, or rather something, else.
The scene of Jacob holding onto the rope to stop Olive floating away whilst taken from a similar scene in the book has an entirely different message here, Olive is both older and Jacob’s love interest in the film and here he is holding her down, literally, with a rope.
Another major change is Bronwyn who is one of the most formidable of all the peculiars in the books possessing superhuman strength and a maternal protective instinct for the youngest of the peculiars, here she has been deaged and one of the youngest, which indicates they must have changed the story because Bronwyn features in several important events, especially the closing scenes of the first book.
Out of all the changes casting Eva Green as the bespectacled and restrained Miss Peregrine of the books is at least understandable given that the film needs a bankable name with a cast that consists mainly of pretty much unknown child/teenage actors.
Whilst changes are often inevitable with any adaptation of a book to bring it to the big screen these changes do make me wonder exactly how much of the original story is going to be left and exactly how it’s going to play out.