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Review: The School for Good and Evil (2022)

Good God this is one hot turd of a movie.

When I first heard the premise for The School for Good and Evil (2022), I thought that the premise of a school for heroes and villains sounded like something that I would be very interested in. If nothing else, it sounded like the kind of fluffy fantasy movie that would be an entertaining way to spend an afternoon. Then I watched the trailer and was met with apprehension because oh my, it looked so ridiculously convoluted. And cheap. But hey! The movie is directed by Paul Feig so maybe it’ll be funny and we’ll all appreciate it for years to come! But oh no…You guys, this movie was so much more horrible than I ever imagined it could have been. I’ll have to look closely at the movies I’ve seen this year, but this is a strong contender for the worst movie of 2022. 

Credit: imdb.com / Netflix

Based on Soman Chainani’s novel of the same name, The School for Good and Evil tells the story of Sophie and Agatha, two best friends who are whisked away to The School for Good and Evil, an enchanted academy that teaches the offspring of fairy tale characters how to live up to the reputation of their parents and keep the balance between good and evil. On opposite sides of the battle, Sophie and Agatha discover more about themselves as their friendship is put to the test.

OH CHRIST. 

I’m not being hyperbolic at all when I say that the movie was less than two minutes in and I was strongly considering shutting it off right then and there, review be damned. What a terribly awful way to start a movie. Not only was the opening a scene a steaming pile of garbage that failed to deliver quality costumes, believable special effects or coherent editing, but it was one of THREE flashbacks in the first 10 minutes of the movie. What a nightmare. If Netflix were using their brains they would have gone ahead and made The School for Good and Evil an animated movie because everything about the terrible filmmaking suggests it should have been a cartoon. 

Paul Feig…what happened? Did he forget how to make movies? Or at the very least, how to tell a coherent, interesting story supported by fully realized characters and good writing? Look, I ADORE a lot of Feig’s movies, but as my review for Last Christmas (2019) will tell you – check out that review, here – he has real trouble making movies that have to be suitable for all ages. Why was he of all directors chosen to make this movie? In all honesty they should have chosen Spy Kids (2001) director Robert Rodriguez because that’s the vibe that The School for Good and Evil gives. Except nowhere near as “in on the joke.” Or nowhere near as cool, frankly. 

God, this movie was horrible. I knew before watching that two and a half hours was too fucking long for such a simplistic idea of a movie, but the more I got into The School for Good and Evil the more I realized just how correct I was. It was so unnecessarily bloated made all the worse by the subpar filmmaking. After the first 15 minutes I could not believe I still had TWO HOURS of crap to wade through. Two and a half damn hours for THIS?! The movie is completely devoid of any semblance of a compelling plot or interesting character development, just annoying repetitions of “I’m not where I’m supposed to be!” and bland one-note performances. The atrocious writing, the laughable special effects and the HEAVY exposition were insufferable. Who was this made for? I can’t think of a single age group or demographic who will find enjoyment in The School for Good and Evil. If I had to throw the movie a bone, I’d say that the production design wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever seen just not necessarily inspired. I wasn’t even a fan of Kerry Washington and Charlize Theron chewing all the scenery. It wasn’t particularly entertaining which is how I definitively knew this movie was a failure. Although, I do wish that Theron were just playing her character from Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). Talk about evil! 

I’d love to know the amount of money they burned to make this movie. I mean, at one point the opening notes of “Once Upon a Dream” from Sleeping Beauty (1959) gets played which you know had to cost Netflix a pretty penny. UGH and a cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic!” I was actually kind of insulted that a song so fabulous was in a movie so aggressively dismal. You know what the overall premise, tone and delivery of The School for Good and Evil most reminds me of? A forgettable fantasy movie that would have come out in 2007 as a desperate attempt to piggyback off the appeal and success of the Harry Potter movies (2001 – 2011). If you’re at all interested in even a tiny aspect of the premise for The School for Good and Evil, just go ahead and watch one of the Descendants movies (2015 – 2019) or any episode of Ever After High (2013 – 2016). There is better storytelling, world building and overall design in an eight minute animated episode of an online cartoon than in any given frame of this abysmal movie. 

Based on how hard they beat us over the head with the prospect of a sequel, I think it’s safe to say that more entires in The School for Good and Evil are coming down the pike from Netflix. I am officially going on record as stating that I have no plans to watch future instalments of this franchise in any capacity. Nope! No ma’am! There’s no power on Earth capable of getting me to revisit this movie or any future sequels. If there’s an entire prequel about Michelle Yeoh’s character teaching magic history than MAYBE! Seriously, how did a single throwaway line from a secondary character become infinitely more interesting than anything this two and a half hour snoozefest served?

Have you seen The School for Good and Evil?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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