Netflix has a habit of picking up fairy tale books, overstuffing them with CGI, and ripping them apart. The School for Good and Evil is no exception.
This latest Netflix entry is based on the first installment of Soman Chainani’s popular book series that goes by the same name.
With a star-studded cast including Sophia Anne Caruso (Sophie), Sofia Wylie (Agatha), Jamie Flatters (Tedros), and Kerry Washington (Professor Dovey), the movie promises to be an entertainer.
The only little caveat for some viewers is the presence of too much melodrama at times. But that is somewhat expected in a movie of this genre.
“Harry Potter” meets “Descendants” with a dash of “Romeo and Juliet” in “The School for Good and Evil.” And yes, it is as overstuffed as it sounds.”Christy Lemire
What is the movie based on?
Director Paul Feig has based this movie on the book The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani.
It is the first part of a book series written by him. After the pilot, the series splits into two trilogies: The School Years and the Camelot Years.
It follows the lives of two contrasting characters, Sophie, and Agatha as they search for answers when they are picked up by a ginormous bird and taken to a castle which changes their lives forever.
The books differ from the quintessential fantasy books because the good and the evil are portrayed on an equal footing.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Chainani commented that he wanted to create something that didn’t have an apparent wall between the good guy and the bad guy whose only purpose was to appear every 20 mins and die in the end.
I wanted to get away from a storytelling structure in which there is a good guy you’re supposed to empathize with and a bad guy who shows up every 10 minutes to say “boo” and then comes back to die at the end,” he explained to the publication.
Chainani also said that the experience of watching the movie would be very different from that of reading the book. That is true for most books, though. A 9-10 hours’ worth of reading can never be contained in a 2-hour movie.
“I think that the job of a movie is to capture the spirit and still be faithful to the book. And this one absolutely is. I don’t think a movie can ever replicate the experience of a book especially because if you think about how long it takes to read a book.”Soman Chainani
That being said, the author also commented that the movie is a “beautiful adaptation” and the experience of reading the book and watching the film are going to be “two different things.”
Is the movie different from the book?
Director Paul Feig commented that they had to pick and choose events and elements from the book to fit the plot. If they were to include everything from the books, it’d have cost “a trillion dollars”.
However, the key elements and the protagonists’ journey have been left untouched. But the creators have incorporated new twists and perspectives into the movie that weren’t there in the books.
The author was also a part of the production team and approved specific changes that were made to the canon plot.
“Only a foolish author would insist on a slavish translation that speaks to no one but the most literal of readers — a reader’s imagination is usually much more vivid and precise than anything that can be put on screen.”Paul Feig
How is the movie?
The movie was released on 19th October, and the reviews till now have not been kind. The story of two schools of contradicting ethos has garnered some stern words from critics.
IMDb has rated it 5.9/10, and the movie has got a Tomatometer rating of 39% on Rotten Tomatoes.
JK Rowling has done a lot in recent years to lower the public’s estimation of her professional achievements, but Netflix’s charmless fantasy The School for Good and Evil teaches the object lesson that conjuring a phenomenon on par with Harry Potter isn’t as simple as scribbling on a cocktail napkin.”The Guardian
But some critics (especially the audience) do have few kind words for the movie. With an audience rating of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, The School for Good and Evil did have its share of audience in the first two days of its release, especially children.
The juxtaposition of a magical Barbie-Esque institution and its dark, gothic counterpart is bound to have a fair share of viewers, irrespective of the flaws.
About The School for Good and Evil
The School for Good and Evil is a 2022 fantasy film. Based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Soman Chainani, it is directed by Paul Feig with a screenplay written by David Magee and Paul Feig.
Best friends Sophie and Agatha are plunked into an epic battle in a school where Good and Evil stand divided, and they must fight to preserve the balance between both.
The film stars Sophia Anne Caruso, Sofia Wylie, Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Flatters, Kit Young, and Peter Serafinowicz.