Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Blackpool

“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” (IMDB, Wikipedia) is not actually a bad film. It is entertaining, quirky, and stars Eva Green and Samuel L. M. F. Jackson. So what could I possibly find fault with? Well the clue is in the title: Blackpool.

Not that Blackpool by itself is the problem; I love Blackpool, its my second favourite place in the world. The problem is the film’s utterly bobbins depiction of the Promenade.

Ask the average person what they know about Blackpool, and they will probably mention the Tower, the Piers, and the Trams. So, logic tells us that if setting a part of a film in Blackpool, the three things you don’t want to get wrong are: Tower, Piers, Trams.

Cocking those up would be like leaving some special effects guy in charge of large and unruly genetically engineered lizards.

Ah, you are thinking, he’s just reusing an old Buzzfeed joke for no reason. Nope, actually I had a reason for that. While I lay a lot of the following criticisms at the door of the script writers(s), I feel the VFX team are also complicit, as they should have been the ones to yell “READ A FUCKING MAP!” Although, had they done that, they’d probably have cut down their work load and been paid less. Mercenary bastards!

So, ignoring a massive amount of the start of the film (which isn’t set in Blackpool), we start at 1:35:22 with the ship arriving at the pier.

Ok, starting with the most glaring error: There is no pier opposite the Tower.  Directly opposite the Tower is the Tower Headland, which has the Comedy Carpet (not actually a carpet) on it. See theis Google Earth thing:

The nearest pier is North Pier, which is a couple of hundred yards to the north. It looks the same for most of the length, but the entertainment complex at the end is missing. And the land based complex is different.

Also, if you look closely, none of the seafront building look the same. And the church tower is on the left instead of on the right.

Anyway, enough of that. Let us move on to the ship landing at the pier.

The North Pier deck, with a CGI building and tower.

Now while a ship landing at the pier happened frequently in the olden days, at the time the pier had a landing jetty which extended it length considerably (never mind the missing entertainment complex).  These days it just would not be possible.

Look what happened the last time a ship got too close to the sea front:

Click if you need to know more

Anyway, they get off the ship and go into a Ghost Train at the end of the pier. One that curiously wasn’t there in the long shot.

Yet when they time-shift, and look out again they see this:

Which is obviously Central Pier (the only one with a Ferris Wheel)

And completelty the wrong shape for the pier seen before. This will come back again…

In the meantime, we have this… kite girl on a rope hitting the tram power lines.

There are a lot of problems with this. First in my mind is that the power lines are too close together. Second is that the 600vdc power would easily earth over a damp rope in winter, thereby causing severe burns to her abdomen and hands, and also probably kill the lad holding the rope. Thirdly, for safety reasons, an incident like this would cause the power to be automatically cut over a large stretch of the line. So she would not be in danger of being hit by the tram.

My contact at Blackpool Transport admits that they hate this scene.

So, back on the pier(s) 1:39:55 gives us this:

So that Central Pier, shortened (see above).

And towards the end of the film we have this:

This shot not only misrepresents the buildings on the sea front, but appears to bend the coast round. The perspective is all to cock.

And then this:

The shot doesn’t even come close to matching the skyline from the first shot.  And we’re back to North Pier (minus the end bit).

We’re at the end now. Have we learned anything?

Well, maybe that authors, scriptwriters and VFX people should actually visit places before they write about them and try to CGI them. Two days in Blackpool could have prevented this. Or ten minutes on the phone to someone living in Blackpool. Perhaps asking the hotel staff about the area might help.

I’ll update this later in the year with some “boots on the ground” photos to clarify bits.,

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