I took Wildflower Child to the movies to see Miss Peregrine's. I actually had to bribe her with the promise of metric tons of popcorn and dinner out to go to a movie. My child is a monster. Regardless I had been very excited about this film as earlier this year I devoured the novels by Ransom Riggs. They are some of most creative and unique writing I've read in years. The entire concept of creating a believable world inspired by strange black and white photographs found at yard sales and flea markets is just wonderful. I have recommended these books to everyone I know who reads fiction. They are an easy read, though not simple, and some of the concepts and "rules" he created for his world are completely original. There is a method of traveling through time that blew my mind. So, yeah, I was excited to see this movie. Especially with Eva Green as the fantastic Miss Peregrine and Tim Burton directing.
I wish I could be more excited after having seen it, then I was when buying our tickets. The movie is gorgeous and I've tried to view it through the eyes of someone who didn't read and love the books, but I'm struggling. I should point out that I am okay with book to movie adaptations. I understand that there will always be changes and sometimes they aren't changes I want, but they made sense to the director or for the time restraints or capabilities of special effects, or whatever. Understanding that, I do not understand why the characters of Emma and Olive were essentially reversed. Emma is still the love interest and a "teenager" (why didn't they get into the relative ages of the children so Jake understands how young he is comparatively?) but instead of being a fire starter, she's now the floater. Olive is aged to teen years and linked to Enoch romantically and is the fire starter. What the hell? There was NO REASON for this change at all. Emma's heat in the books is important, and having Olive be very young and constantly putting herself up there to help the children illustrates how brave and capable all these characters are. The other character change that killed me was Bronwyn. In the book she's another teenager and almost foster mother to the youngest children. In the movie, she is a little. Bronwyn's strength in the books is not just her ability to literally carry them through danger, she is brave and compassionate and very gentle with the younger ones (Claire and Olive particularly). She is very underutilized in the film and more a sight gag than anything else. Fiona was also made much younger in the book than the movie and she talks. In the book she is silent until traumatized and there is a rudely funny moment when no one can understand her through her thick accent while speaking rapidly.
Let's not forget that the main setting of the book revolves around a date during WWII. The evil "peculiars" use the cloak of the war and the mantle of the Nazis to move around Europe hunting Jake and the other children. The stress and fear of living and moving during that time is palpable in Ransom Riggs' writing. There is virtually no reference to the war other than the Nazi stamped bomb that falls when Miss Peregrine's time loop closes.
I have taken two days to try to process how I feel about this movie and what I can say about it to those who have, and have not, read the books. Honestly, I am just sad. This was a unique and beautiful story that was frankly begging to be adapted. It was directed by one of my favorite directors, and cast very well. And it was one of the most disappointing films I've seen in a long time. Including Suicide Squad. I felt like it was simply expected that the other films would not be adapted and therefore the ground was scorched and salted. And I'm not sure anyone involved in the production actually read the books. Even if you haven't read the books, I'm fairly certain the final reel will have you saying "what?" to yourself. I know I was. Though with all that said, Wildflower Child loved it and hopes they make more. But what does she know? She's seven.
I'm Kirsten. Some things you could label me with; tattooed, geek, mama, animal lover, weirdo, nerd, writer, movie and TV addict, lazy, ambitious, insomniac, feminist, LGBTQ+.