It's always a risk when a beloved book gets a big-screen adaptation, but fans of Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children have nothing to fear. The movie version of the 2011 bestseller, about a teenage boy who uncovers a children's home in which the residents all have supernatural powers, holds up to the book, with director Tim Burton and writer Jane Goldman making sure to stick close to Riggs' much-loved story. Yet that doesn't mean that there aren't differences between the Miss Peregrine 's movie and the book, of course. Like any book-to-film adaptation, Burton's movie isn't an exact replica of the novel, and it includes a few notable changes that sharp-eyed fans will certainly spot when they head to the theaters. Spoilers ahead!
By and large, the movie stays close to its source material, and it's very unlikely that any fan of Riggs' book will be up in arms about any massive changes or character developments. Yet there are few decisions the movie makes that the book does not, ones that, while not impacting the story tremendously overall, will probably be spotted by more than a few viewers. Speaking of the changes he and the filmmakers made, Burton tells Bustle, "you don’t want to piss off the writer if you can help it." But, he adds, Riggs "was very good and very understanding" about the decisions Burton made to differentiate the film from the movie.
For instance, when Jake arrives in Wales in the book, he sees Emma (at the time, just a mysterious stranger) and follows her, looking for information, and later, Emma and Millard capture him and bring him to the orphanage. In the movie, Jake meets Emma, Millard, and a few others when he explores the home, and together, they head to the bar and, then, the orphanage. There is no big capture, and while Jake is certainly confused what's happening, he's more intrigued than scared.
Later, in the book, Jake and his friends find a dead man named Martin and bring him back to life using Enoch's powers, so that Martin can tell them about the wight who killed him. In the movie, Jake simply sees a dead man who's lost his eyes and realizes that it must be the act of a wight. One of the biggest changes comes afterwards, regarding Miss Peregrine's capture. In the book, Jake and the others learn that Peregrine has been kidnapped by Barron, but in the movie, they are present and aware when Barron makes Peregrine transform into a bird and takes her away.
This is where the movie makes a few more significant changes. The book sees Barron throwing the cage containing Peregrine and Miss Avocet into the water, with Jake and Emma then going onto the sea to rescue the caregivers. Barron, then, is shot and killed by Jake. In the movie, this all happens differently. Jake and the others engage in a long battle with Barron and his fellow evildoers, chasing them all over a carnival and causing serious chaos. When Barron is killed, it's by Jacob, yes, but only after several other attempts made by Jacob and his friends. Miss Peregrine and Miss Avocet, meanwhile, are released out of their cages and go to rescue the other children, not thrown into the sea.
In the movie, unlike the book, Miss Peregrine is shown at the end to be able to transform back into her human form without any problem, and she travels with the children on their journey to find more wights and end the battle for good. Both the film and the novel see Jacob joining the children on the trip, but the movie shows more of the effort he makes to track them down, as well as the romance he's developed with Emma. "We tried to keep it kind of subtle," Burton says about the relationship. "There’s an unrequited, behind the eyes kind of look and feel to make those points come across."
Romance elements aside, both versions hint at the possibility of a sequel, something Burton says he "wasn't even thinking about" when making the film. "Rather than the end, you don’t want to say that," Burton says. "You try to keep this poetic mystery about it that I felt was in the book."
The changes the film makes might not be major, but they're still notable, especially for fans who prefer their beloved novels untouched by any Hollywood decisions. Yet overall, Burton's version of Miss Peregrine 's holds true to the book and will likely make many readers very happy.
Image: 20th Century Fox