The School for Good and Evil (2022) Movie Review – All aesthetic and no substance
No substance, just aesthetics.
The School for Good and Evil tells the tale of Sophie and Agatha as they discover they have been transported to the school they attend. There’s an interesting twist: princess-like Sophie arrives at the Gothic, fog-clad School for Evil while Agatha is dropped into a literal bed of roses in the School for Good.
From the start, the film aims to challenge the established tropes. It lays out the unmistakable binary of the school with the hope of breaking it down into pieces. However, it fails to keep its word. Agatha’s argument against the school is extremely evident, and the entire issue is simplified. The words “good”, “evil,” beauty’, ‘good’, and ‘ugly is used so frequently that you get tired of hearing them around the middle point.
The film attempts to explore various issues, from the distinction between good and evil, from unrealistic expectations imposed on children to the strength of friendship. However, each one is given a superficial treatment, without any discussion space or depth.
In reality, it is hilarious! the irony, the characters undergo an alteration between evil and good, and everything that changes is their clothes! Royal gold and pastels for the good, and black to hide the bad. The newly evil are now sporting facial scars to show their ugly side. Despite its focus on beauty and the ugly, the film does not conclude its discussion of physical appearances in any way. In its conclusion, this issue is just pushed away.
In spite of dressing it as an attempt to critique fairy tales, this film is still a victim of certain clichés. The most prominent one is the myth of the male protagonist falling in love with a woman who isn’t like everyone else’.
It’s not just that the film does not stand out in an ocean of fantasy films however it’s lacking in substance, especially for an element of young adult entertainment. The genre has always been more nuanced and complex than the film has given the genre credit for.
As with the majority of the film, the world’s building is a bit hollow and flat. Sophie as well as Agatha are thrust into the classroom, but they do not venture beyond it. The film is full of references to popular fairytale characters, but not much more than a few sentences are dedicated to exploring the world or the way it operates. The magic itself is undefined, and there are no guidelines or precise rules to operate. Since it’s intended to be the site that gave birth to so many famous stories There was plenty of opportunity to be exciting.
The main characters are captivating and enjoyable to follow however neither of them has a satisfying character arc or, at the very least, not one that’s convincing. The other cast members and a stunningly high-profile one with a dazzling array of stars haven’t much else to do other than the specific roles they take on. Although the performances are impressive, however, no character is given the depth they merit. This is a feat considering the lengthy run time that’s 2 hours 27 mins.
However, where the text is weak, the pictures are a little better. In addition to the usual flashes in light, you see impressive blood magic and the scene in which the girl’s dragon tattoo appears to live just off her shoulder. But there are some blunders in this regard as well. In one instance, the statue of cupid is brought to life as a toddler and it is straight into the uncanny valley. The toddler transforms into an angry man who pursues Agatha. It appears they were trying to duplicate Hogwarts’ Labyrinth of dangerous creatures and objects however it wasn’t the same result.
The film closes in a very convenient way. The story ends with mistakes being averted and relationships repaired without any need for explanation. It’s imperative to say that the film was well-meaning and was trying to demonstrate that humans aren’t only either good or evil, but human. However, the story failed not just with this idea, but as well as the efforts of a stellar ensemble of actors and talented VFX artists, making The School for Good and Evil more of an aesthetic rather than an actual story with a message.
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