“The School for Good and Evil” is the newest option Netflix offers if looking for a world of magic. This family-friendly movie gives viewers an on-screen version of the book, written by Soman Chainani, and follows best friends Sophie and Agatha throughout their experience attending competing schools — schools made to help heroes and villains reach their full potential.
The pair, who have been best friends since birth, find themselves in a sticky situation when Sophie runs away from home after catching wind of the School for Good. Agatha, her free-spirited sidekick, follows Sophie on her journey in an attempt to bring her back home. In doing so, both girls fail to end up where they expected. Sophie lands in the School for Evil and Agatha in the School for Good. Agatha and Sophie are both upset with their placements, so they work to return to their rightful places — unsuccessfully. As they adjust to their fates, the friends encounter challenges that arise and their relationship is put to the test.
Director Paul Feig does a less than impressive job of world-building throughout the movie, failing to find the delicate balance between visuals and storytelling. On a more positive note, while at times the posh world seems a little over-the-top, the central focus of the friendship between Sophie and Agatha grounds the story and adds a much-needed emotional aspect. The movie tries to fit the classic fairytale bill with wolf guards, ballgowns and grand sweeping castles, but something is still missing. Unlike other blockbusters, like the Harry Potter series, this plot leaves the audience wanting more. While the concept is promising, the basis of the movie is filled with expected twists and turns, and feels more akin to a Disney movie than a Netflix chart-topper.
The overused light versus dark trope has been beaten to death, and “The School for Good and Evil” does nothing more than add another title to the list. While the relationship between Sophie and Agatha is sweet, the storyline seems to cherry-pick from every other magical book and movie already available.
When clicking through Netflix, skip over “The School for Good and Evil.” The concept is better executed by other shows that are less cringeworthy to watch. The promising premise and visuals do not make up for the lack of depth, intrigue and quality acting. No amount of magic could make this movie a good addition to a Netflix watchlist.