I had mixed feelings when I read Ransom Riggs’ book but I was interested to see what Tim Burton did with it. I think his style really suits the ‘peculiar’ characters and settings. And because it’s a Tim Burton film, of course there are animated skeletons in it.
I liked the casting (which includes Asa Butterfield and Eva Green), the special effects and the bright colours. Yet I struggled to stay focused on what was happening. There was a lack of tension. The plot was vaguely the same as in the book, but the more it diverged (particularly towards the end) the more chaotic it became. Additionally there was more of a conclusion, which is understandable, as the film is not the first in a series. I think if I hadn’t read the book, I might have struggled to understand most of it.
The monsters weren’t quite what I’d expected. Also, I don’t remember from the book that their aim is to take people’s eyes. It seems odd to put that into the film, where it makes for some rather gross scenes. I suppose it’s possible that some of the elements in the film are taken from the sequel published before the film was made, but as I haven’t read it, I wouldn’t know.
I wouldn’t recommend the film unless, like me, you’re curious about how it compares to the book.
Low-resolution poster sourced from Wikipedia.