xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
Walking back to the car after a recent screening of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” my movie-savvy, nearly-seven-year-old son took my hand and asked me sweetly: “Mommy, what was that about?”
Um … er … well …
The short answer (which probably wasn’t terribly helpful to him) was: It’s “X-Men” meets “Groundhog Day.” The real answer, which required a lot of stumbling and bumbling and twists and turns, was far more lengthy (and probably not terribly helpful, either). Because even though I’d just seen the exact same movie my son had, I wasn’t sure I completely understood it, either.
The latest adventure from Tim Burton would seem tailor-made for his tastes but it’s a convoluted slog, dense in mythology and explanatory dialogue but woefully lacking in thrills. It’s been a matter of diminishing returns with Burton for the past several years now between “Alice in Wonderland,” “Dark Shadows” and “Big Eyes” (although the animated “Frankenweenie” found the director in peak retro form). “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” allows him to show only brief glimmers of the gleefully twisted greatness of his early work such as “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” and “Beetlejuice.” The characters here are supposed to be delightful—or at least interesting—simply because they’re superficially odd, and it just isn’t enough anymore. Too often, it feels like we’ve seen this movie before—and seen it done better.