“The School for Good and Evil” is an entertaining watch

Elise Chen, Staff writer

Set in a fairytale-esque land, “The School for Good and Evil” combines the characters of Disney with the magic of Harry Potter in a way that leaves your head spinning. Despite its promising premise and brilliant actors, the film struggles to adapt the original book into a movie. The aesthetics and soundtrack make up the difference, weaving the story together and keeping it interesting. As long as you don’t set your expectations too high, it is an enjoyable watch.

The show begins by displaying the lives of best friends Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie). Sophie, who acts like a princess and converses with animals, is the complete opposite to Agatha, who dresses in black and keeps to herself. Despite their differences, the two bond over their ostracization by the village.

Dissatisfied with her current life, Sophie longs to be someone special. Upon learning of the School for Good and Evil, where storybook heroes and villains are trained, she wishes to escape to the fantastical school and become a fairytale princess. However, to her disbelief, she ends up in the School for Evil, with the witchy Agatha in the School for Good instead. To switch schools, Sophie must first prove she is Good by earning True Love’s Kiss.

Many famous actors, including Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Michelle Yeoh and Cate Blanchett, star in the movie, though rising stars Caruso and Wylie carry the show. The movie backgrounds and costume designs are glamorous and attention-grabbing, wrapping up the fantasy theme nicely. The cast goes through many outfits made by award-winning designer Renée Ehrlich Kalfus, and each school has a distinct style. Though

technically part of the same institution, the fairy-filled School for Good emphasizes beauty and sophistication, whereas the mist- shrouded School for Evil teaches magic and uglification. The show is punctuated by songs like “Toxic” by 2WEI and “You Should See Me in a Crown” by Billie Eilish. Fight scenes, such as when King Arthur’s son Tedros goes up against the other knights, are well-choreographed with a sense of organized chaos.

Regardless, the odd pacing makes the story disjointed and tedious. Certain movie scenes were forcefully stretched out while others were rushed through, and computer-generated images take up the remaining screen time. Although Sophie and Agatha’s lives in the village last only 10 minutes, the repetition and lack of purpose make their experiences seem dull.

The adaptation largely follows its source material, though many scenes were cut out or lost their impact. Although I understand the difficulty of fitting an entire book into a single movie, the overstuffed scenes significantly reduce character development, along with emotions the audience may feel. The excellent acting and designs counteract that, and I appreciate the theme of friendship as well. It may not be worth paying for, but if you are a fan of the book series or have a subscription to Netflix, it makes for solid Friday night entertainment. Ω