A mash-up of all the best fantasy films combined; I enjoyed this magical teen drama and can’t wait for sequels.
This review of the Netflix film The School for Good and Evil does not contain spoilers.
Finally, the well-anticipated fantasy film is available to watch on Netflix. The School for Good and Evil is based on the bestselling book series by Soman Chainani and has a star-studded cast to draw us in. Is this film the magical drama we’ve all been needing to fill a wand-shaped hole in our hearts? Well, yes, it is. With a runtime of two hours and twenty-eight minutes, you’ll delve into a world that’s completely different from your own.
Apart from the great CGI, props, and female lead storyline, we have excellent acting with first-class chemistry (well-done, casting team). The film follows the story of two best friends, Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie) who find themselves thrown into an enchanted school aimed at training heroes and villains alike to protect the balance of good and evil.
The acting is fantastic and while some of the characters are over-theatrical and zany it is portrayed so well that it’s believable and doesn’t feel cheesy or forced. The film is narrated throughout by Cate Blanchett (who also narrated a small portion of The Lord of the Rings, which gave me so much warm nostalgia), and this helps as a lot goes on in this film, her soft vocal tones are pleasant.
The costumes and set designs in this film are fabulous; all the effort and thought that has gone into these really helps in transporting audiences into their magical realm. As imagined by production designer Andy Nicholson, the castle contains both schools, one Gothic, dark and almost undesirable, the other colorful, fruitful and looks rather expensive. It’s very much Harry Potter meets Bridgerton, meets Lord of the Rings. All the best things rolled into one.
The only downside for me is that the film moves rather quickly, and with such a fast pace it doesn’t give much time for audiences to admire and feel that sense of discovery. However, it uses so many well-known tropes that there is comfort in the known and if you’re a fantasy fan you’ll pick up a lot quickly. I very much enjoy the little character references such as one boy being Captain Hook’s son, one being the son of King Arthur, the evil Rafal coming through the magic mirror, and many more. The best one is their magic comes from their finger that lights up like E.T’s. I also think that when you watch it again and again you’ll see something new and different each time.
Whilst this school is filled with magic, this does feel more like a boarding school for the spoilt, and unlike Harry Potter, it doesn’t have that muggle magic essence of reality to it. Although, if you can overlook that, this film is a great watch. The film does lay the foundations for the inevitable sequels, so I’m excited to see the next in the franchise.
Overall I really enjoyed The School for Good and Evil. It’s filled a fantasy hole in my heart and is one I can easily watch over and over again. Whilst this may be aimed more towards teens and young adults it is still a film that all adults can indulge in and enjoy.
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