Today we’re talking about the 2020 film Upside-Down Magic.
It’s probably not fair of me, but after Secret Society of Second-Born Royals, I wasn’t too hopeful for this one.
Boy was I surprised. It has the feel and tone of good YA, while also poking subtle fun at the genre’s recent prevalent tropes. The story doesn’t get bogged down by any of the usual annoyances, and despite a pretty predictable plot, it’s a lot of fun with some decent worldbuilding.
There are many tropes and archetypes in YA. This movie takes the most prevalent ones of the insecure super-powerful main character and the quirky super-positive sidekick and switches them places, leaving us with an extremely interesting main character that doesn’t mope. It’s nice.
The rest of the cast are a little underdeveloped, but diverse and entertaining.
I also have to talk about the grumpy teacher turns out to be a softy trope. It’s really one of my favourites and works extremely well here.
The dialogue is young, but not condescending. It has some pretty smart moments and great banter. There are also more than a few lines that are so generic that they could be part of a YA magic school generator.
Visuals and Music
The visuals are really well done. The special effects budget was obviously not big, but they used it efficiently. I enjoyed the use of camera angles and colours to guide the viewer.
The music did what it needed and, other than the little singing in the movie, was not extremely noticeable.
For my four year old this was amazing, for the toddler he was glued to the screen. For me it had enough fresh material and awesome characters. It never really dragged and had a nice little twist. The movie made me want more and add the books to my TBR pile.
A thoroughly charming, self aware, and fun young adult magic school adventure. The characters, world, and magic are great. Refreshing not have a forced love story and reinforcing the strength of friendship. I look forward to reading the books.
Final Score: 4 stars out of 5