My wife had an interesting justification for wrapping this film and affixing a “Santa” label on it for me. She said it reminded her of when she bought the first Harry Potter book for me at the turn of the century. Someone told her I would like it. (I like how that woman thinks!)
I don’t track YA fiction so much. The young miss read the book, but she didn’t confess enthusiasm for it. The sequels haven’t interested her.
So to the film. The fam and I watched it last week. I really liked it. While I’ve lost interest in Tim Burton as a director, this effort seemed rather disciplined and as a result more of his crazy imagination shone through. Usually with that director, the emphasis is on crazy. He’s botched more films than I’ve cared to watch, but this one I enjoyed. He seemed at home with weird material, and he didn’t go out of his way to plunge off the deep end.
What can one say about fantasy material and acting? I think the visual effects and costumes often overtake personal skill. Eva Green was arresting in the title role and Asa Butterfield was competent as a young lead. I think I’d like to read the book and see how the author combined old photographs with a fantasy narrative. That seems like a new angle for modern fantasy fiction.
This movie won’t win awards for excellence in filmmaking, but I give it a solid plus.