The School for Good and Evil

I was surprised when I saw The School for Good and Evil on Netflix tonight. I knew it was coming out, but I was not expecting to see it on the streaming site. I was excited bout watching the film, adapted from a novel written by Soman Chainani.

The School for Good and Evil is like an amalgam of ABC’s Once Upon a Time and Harry Potter. Sadly, though there was a lot of magic on display in the story, it was lacking any substantial magic of story.

According to IMDB, “In the village of Gavaldon, two misfits and best friends, Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie), share the unlikeliest of bonds. Sophie, a lover of fairy tales, dreams of escaping her ordinary village life, while Agatha, with her grim aesthetic, has the makings of a real witch. Then one night under a blood red moon, a powerful force sweeps them away to the School for Good and Evil — where the true story of every great fairy tale begins. Yet something is amiss from the start: Sophie is dropped into the School for Evil, run by the glamourous and acid-tongued Lady Lesso (Charlize Theron), and Agatha in the School for Good, overseen by the sunny and kind Professor Dovey (Kerry Washington). As if navigating classes with the offspring of Cinderella, Captain Hook, and the dashing son of King Arthur (Jamie Flatters) wasn’t hard enough, according to the Schoolmaster (Laurence Fishburne), only true love’s kiss can change the rules and send the girls to their rightful school. But when a dark and dangerous figure (Kit Young) with mysterious ties to Sophie reemerges and threatens to destroy the school and the rulebook entirely — the only way to a happy ending is to survive the fairytale first.

This was such a disappointment. It was silly, derivative, and predictable. The characters were shallow and superficial. The friendship between Sophie and Agatha was unconvincing and did not make me believe that they could overcome this dreaded obstacle in their path.

Laurence Fishburne was wasted as the Schoolmaster. Charlize Theron was decent as the headmistress of the School for Evil, but her motives were all over the place. Kerry Washington was superficial and lacked any semblance of goodness. There were a bunch of side characters that were given legendary parents, but who were not given any sort of personality or depth.

The ending had a chance to do something interesting, but, instead, they succumb to a fairy tale trope that was as boring as it was expected.

Some of the CGI was decent while other parts were shaky. There was some good visuals and scenery in the film, but that was not enough to make it passable.

As it is with some films, a younger audience may find this more acceptable than I did. Unfortunately, I was ready to love this movie, and I just did not.

1.8 stars

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