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hese days, we seem to be watching an awful lot of animation. I’m not talking about that crazy orange

dude from America with the wig and the small hands, who waves his arms about like a man on fire whilst talking about pussies and definitely not taking the piss out of disabled people; I’m talking about cartoon critters, the generated genre, non- boring drawings… that sort of animation. Ever since Toy Story blazed the trail for computer generated success way back when, audiences have found Nemo, learnt how to train their dragons, and actually heard the moment that Jack Black sold his soul voicing a fat, karate panda (it’s on the director’s commentary). It’s fair to say, however, that after a while, the scene became somewhat saturated with wannabes, and sequels. And whilst some of them were still very good, I’ve ended up feeling dizzy from Disney, woozy from the elixir of Pixar, and, frankly, bent over and team- worked by Dreamworks. Having said that, now and then

“Expect more self-aware humour, awesome brickwork, and special guest cameos by the toy- box load.”

there’s a movie that puts the “me” back in “anime”, and this is one of those times. I absolutely adored the Lego movie, and February sees the release of the Lego Batman Movie. Yes, the hero who only uses black bricks (and sometimes really, really dark grey) has returned, which is, well, awesome, because Will Arnett’s Batman was the best part of the previous brick-flick. But if this blockbuster centres solely on our yellow faced caped crusader, then who’s the bad guy trying to make everything un- awesome? Who else but the Joker, voiced by Zach Galifianakis,

who let’s face it, is going to piss all over Jared Leto’s turn as the Clown Prince. Expect more self-aware humour, awesome brickwork, and special guest cameos by the toy-box load. Te first Lego was as funny for adults as for kids, and this promises more of the same. So, will it be masterpiece of creativity, or something painful to be stepped on in your socks? You’ll have to watch it and see.


Director Tim Burton has had somewhat of a return to form of late with the compelling Big Eyes in 2014 and now a return to gothic fantasy with this adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ debut novel.

Jacob (Asa Butterfield) has spent his childhood enraptured by his grandfather’s tall tales of his youth spent at the titular children’s home. When his grandfather is attacked, Jacob sets out to find Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) to discover not only the truth behind what happened to his grandfather but also the details of his own “peculiarity”. Burton is the obvious choice to direct this film, with many of the characters (the cloth bound Twins) and themes (eyes being plucked out) sharing parallels with his 1997 collection of darkly comic poems Te Melancholy Death Of Oyster Boy. His skill of bringing gothic spectacle to life on screen along with Jane Goldman’s fun screenplay gave the time-bending, kids with powers tale a cohesive feel and really made me buy into the world.

All of the cast are engaging, with the children themselves providing plenty of

laughs despite their powers being a little clichéd (invisible boy, fire summoning girl, etc), but it’s the adults who really make this. Eva Green is on stunning form as Miss Peregrine, a pipe-smoking oddball with hints of menace, sadness and more than a touch of cabin fever, and there’s a fun turn from Samuel L Jackson who camps it up as the scenery chewing bad guy.

It takes longer than expected for Jacob to reach the home in the first act, which wasn’t an issue. But the third act did feel a little rushed in comparison, and to be honest, even though it had a run time of just over two hours, I would have been happy with another thirty minutes just to pace it out a little better.

I hope this film finds a larger audience long term, as it was rather overlooked at the box office and as there are two more books in the series, I’d love to see more from Ransom Riggs’ world realised on screen.

Oh, and be warned, despite the twee sounding title this really isn’t for smaller children. It’s definitely in the upper end of the 12A bracket.


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