The School for Good and Evil is based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Soman Chainani, and is a fantasy film for all the family, directed by Paul Feig, and exclusive to Netflix. With such a huge following, the level of expectation was high, and perhaps a little too lofty to live up to. Here is our review for Netflix original movie, The School for Good and Evil.
The academy for mediocrity
There’s a certain type of performance that works for a fantasy film. Sometimes, that is over the top and in your face. That’s exactly what seems to have been aimed for in the opening to The School for Good and Evil on Netflix, but unfortunately, it falls flat. Sadly, that sets the stage for over two hours of wooden acting from around half of the cast. While there are diamonds in the rough, such as Charlize Theron, Michelle Yeoh, and Sofia Wylie, their heavy lifting doesn’t do nearly enough to transport the audience from their couches to the mystical world explored on screen.
This attempt at enveloping viewers within the movie’s magical lands is also tarnished by an overreliance on special effects. Though at times the CGI is fantastic, there are too many moments that look extremely unrealistic, destroying any sense of immersion that had taken so long to build, away in mere seconds. What never fails to impress, however, is the costuming. If this movie is going to win any major accolades, it will be thanks to its wardrobe department. Every design looks as though it has been ripped straight from the pages of a fairy tale, which makes the characters more believable.
Originality is also a key component of any fantasy film, and while using inspiration from stories gone by can be sweet, it does feel as though the audience is being whacked over the head by Disney’s influence on a number of occasions. Thankfully, the film’s final act is one worth sticking around for, and where this tale really comes into its own. Though a predictable twist doesn’t do much to shock, the story’s major players all come together to deliver a memorable 45 minutes that will leave those watching on a high.
The School for Good and Evil is an acquired taste. There are some magical moments, and the script isn’t an entirely poor one, but having to cram such a meaty story into two and a half hours runtime means that it is ultimately a let down. This is without a doubt an adaptation that should have led to a multi-season series, rather than a film. While a sequel was teased at the end of the movie, it may be worth going back to the drawing board before making any concrete plans.