Franchises targeting young adults are a gold mine. It’s likely that a Harry Potter or Hunger Games project will continue laying profitable tiny eggs for a film studio or streaming service for years. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that Netflix, which has dominated the teen market in recent years, would seek to adapt the wildly successful YA novel series by Soman Chainani, The School for Good and Evil. It is less logical that a director like Paul Feig would transform it into this.
Feig’s resume speaks for itself: He co-created Freaks & Geeks, one of the finest TV series ever, and he is responsible for some of the best comedic movies of the last ten years, including Bridesmaids and Spy. The School for Good and Evil shows very little of that comic talent. We regret to inform you that it is a complete disaster Where do I even start? It all begins with a voiceover narration from Cate Blanchett, which strikes me as a cynical choice for a movie that feels like it has to steal gravitas from another. (Yes, we are cognizant of the Fellowship prologue.) After that, we are welcomed to a completely binary dual school with good guys and evil guys; this is essentially a fantasy version of jocks vs goths in high school.
All of it is so similar to Hogwarts, down to the castle’s layout, that J.K. Rowling’s attorneys may be weighing their options. By Morpheus, Laurence Fishburne plays Dumbledore; Charlize Theron plays Snape, and Giselle from Enchanted casts Kerry Washington as Gilderoy Lockhart. Agatha (Sofia Wylie) and Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) are literally thrust into this situation after being mistakenly enrolled in the incorrect schools where they must painfully slowly learn the lessons of meeting people in the middle.
Finding positive aspects is actually difficult. A few of the performances are more in line with a poor panto. Most CGI is unattractive. The images are a disorganized mash-up of aesthetics. The language is laughably corny (one villain growls, “Did you really think it would be that easy?”). The magic is overexplained and inadequately defined. The makeup links moral evil and facial deformity. Unacceptably, the movie runs for two and a half hours.
Below is The Trailer For The School For Good And Evil: