The Art of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Leah Gallo
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
Documenting the creation of eccentric filmmaker Tim Burton’s (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Frankenweenie) latest opus, The Art of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children details the discovery and acquisition of Ransom Riggs’ bestselling novel and the author’s joyous approval of Burton attaching himself to the property. Deconstructing Riggs’ coming of age tale and aligning it even more so with Burton’s visual sensibilities, Screenwriter Jane Goldman (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass) discusses her approaches to remain faithful to the source material while, ensuring an effective adaptation keeping within its spirit. From the casting of his Dark Shadows collaborator Eva Green in the titular role alongside up and comers including, Asa Butterfield (Hugo) and Ella Purnell (Maleficent), Burton’s newest feature centered on uniquely gifted outsiders adds Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight), Judi Dench (Skyfall), Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids) and Terence Stamp (Big Eyes) to the time-looping festivities. Exploring every conceivable stage of its development from casting, location scouting, set building, costume & makeup, the intensive filming schedule and post-production, Gallo’s detailed account leaves no stone left unturned with interviews from key participants both in front and behind the camera while, the behind-the-scenes passport is also beautifully furnished with glossy onset photographs, Burton’s personal production sketches and gorgeous concept art.
Further complimented by a warm introduction by the director and foreword by Ransom Riggs, The Art of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children covers the wide gamut of Burton’s insistence on using practical effects and melding them with today’s VFX capabilities. In addition, as seen in the film, Burton’s lifelong love for stop-motion animation and Ray Harryhausen continues as the all-encompassing companion explores the technical approaches in bringing reanimated creations and battling skeletons to fruition. Notably absent for only the second time in Burton’s career is Composer Danny Elfman whose obligations to Alice Through the Looking Glass withheld him from joining the production. Welcoming the talented duo of fellow Burton collaborator Michael Higham (Corpse Bride) and Matthew Margeson (Kingsman: The Secret Service) to the shoot, Gallo explores their unique musical approaches to the film and their initial fear in trying to live up to Burton and Elfman’s previous works. An exceptional counterpart to Burton’s visually arresting and emotionally adventurous feature, The Art of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children stands as one of the more detailed making-of accounts for the Beetlejuice maker in recent years.