|Based on||Upside-Down Magic|
by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
|Written by||Nick Pustay|
|Directed by||Joe Nussbaum|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||96 minutes|
|Original network||Disney Channel|
|Original release||July 31, 2020|
Upside-Down Magic is a Disney Channel Original Movie and adaptation of the eponymous fantasy book series by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins. The film stars Izabela Rose and Siena Agudong. It premiered on Disney Channel on July 31, 2020.
Best friends Elinor "Nory" Boxwood-Horace and Reina Carvajal discover they have magical powers: Nory can transform into animals and Reina can control fire. They enroll at Sage Academy, a prestigious magic school.
At Sage Academy, there are different classes for each student: The Flare class is for those who can create fire with their hands like Reina. The Fluxer class is for those who can turn into animals like Nory. The Flyer class is for those who can fly a few feet from the ground. The Fuzzy class is for those who can talk to animals. The Flicker class is for those who can make themselves or other things invisible.
Reina shows off her flare skills while Nory unintentionally transforms in to a cat/dragon hybrid while trying to turn into a cat. Reina is placed in the Honors Flare class, but Nory is placed in the Upside-Down Magic program which is run by Budd Scriff. In this program are students who have imperfect abilities as Headmistress Knightslinger considers them to be easy targets for the Shadow Magic, an evil force that uses a person's magic against everyone else through possession. As Nory and her fellow students secretly plan to perfect their abilities while assisting Budd in his groundskeeping, Headmistress Knightslinger is unaware that the Shadow Magic has ways of targeting the most unlikely students.
Reina discovers a book about Shadow Magic and, unaware of the Shadow Magic legend that Nory and the other UDMs were taught, takes the book to the dorm and finds a page about strengthening magical abilities. Reina reads the page because she was being belittled by a fellow Flare student named Phillip who has more Flare experience than her.
Budd finds that his students are working to perfect their abilities in secret and agrees to help them while keeping Headmistress Knightslinger from finding out.
The next day, Reina prepares for Founders’ Day, where Reina competes against Phillip. Reina's powers are unusually strong and she gets to represent the Flares. Nory attempts to crash the competition by turning into a kitten, but instead becomes a wild boar/cat/dragon hybrid. Reina uses Nory's favorite Flare move to snap Nory out of it, but it almost burns Nory because Reina's powers have been so unusually strengthened.
Reina meets Chandra, a fellow Flare who trusts in Reina's abilities. The Shadow Magic book starts appearing after where Reina goes and Reina tells Chandra to take the book with her. Chandra takes it, but it reappears in Reina’s room. Chandra reveals to be an embodiment of Shadow Magic in human form the next day when the other Flares cannot see who Reina is talking to. Chandra manipulates Reina and possesses her. At Founders' Day, Reina goes up to represent the Flares and uses a complicated Flare trick and becomes a shadow-like being who threatens to destroy the entire school. Eventually, it is the UDMs who are able to rescue Reina and return her to normal enough for her to defeat the Shadow Magic.
After the incident, Nory and the UDMs are moved into their respective magic classes and Budd is now an official Fuzzy teacher.
In the final scene, the Shadow Magic book falls off the shelf as it opens on a specific page that shows the magic logo with one symbol that has been removed in the normal magic logo. Shadow Magic is not fully defeated and it seems to have its own lost category of magic that it wants to show the world....at any destructive cost.
Disney Channel optioned the book series in 2015. Production began in August 2019 with the cast announcement. Joe Nussbaum directed and executive produced the film, with Suzanne Farwell and Susan Cartsonis also executive producing; Nick Pustay and Josh Cagan worked on the teleplay.
Principal photography took place on Vancouver Island. Shawnigan Lake School was used as the setting for Sage Academy, with students used as extras.
Upside-Down Magic premiered on Disney Channel on July 31, 2020.