Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: Book VS Movie

Jackie Ho

missperegrine-newThough movies based on books attract both moviegoers and readers alike, they cannot avoid the inevitable: the readers complain about every minute detail different from the original. Tim Burton’s newest movie, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” adapted from Ransom Riggs’s novel did not escape this unfortunate fate. After watching the trailers, most readers were outraged and confused, questioning both the director and author about all the major changes they made from the book. As a reader of the New York Times best-seller, I can assure you fellow fans that Burton’s interpretation of our beloved novel is different and unique, but still remains true to the plot mostly.

As a whole, the movie has a completely different atmosphere as it is more mystical and colorful compared to the novel’s creepy, secretive mood. This was due to two things: the vibrant color scheme of the setting and characters compared to only black and white photographs in the novel, and the omission of more gruesome moments in the book such as Martin’s mauled eyeless corpse being brought back to life. This change does not take anything away from the novel, rather it gives a new, interesting perspective on the grim, mysterious world Riggs created.

Another change to the movie was the ending, where it completely diverged from the novel’s plot. Usually, new developments in the novel based movie would be unwelcome and hated by the audience, but Burton’s unexpected, action packed climax and all knots tied happy ending was enjoyable and will appeal to even the most close-minded readers. Since Riggs’s novel is only the first of his trilogy, the movie’s ending had to improvised so there were no questions unanswered, leaving the audience satisfied.

Another major concern of Riggs’s readers was how different the characters are in age, personality, and peculiarities. Emma and Olive swapping powers was a questionable but necessary move in the movie as Emma’s new air powers were significant to the plot development that her original fire peculiarity would be useless in. For example, when in the book it was unclear on how the underwater scene happened, the movie beautifully portrayed Emma’s air powers, blowing the water out from the sunken ship. Also, the romantic relationships in the movie were more enjoyable and nicely paced out compared to the novel where it was flat, rushed, and uncomfortable. Emma and Jake had a nice pace with cute interactions which added to the movie, rather than detract. The only disappointment with the character changes was Millard as his role was smaller in the movie and the readers couldn’t experience his silly, stuck up personality. “Will you quit shouting and let me bleed in peace!”(Riggs). Despite not being able to enjoy Millard’s funny moments, most of the characters were still likeable and perfectly portrayed. Overall, Tim Burton’s expectedly great adaption successfully stayed true to the most significant parts of the plot and characters while not being a carbon copy of the novel.