Upside-Down Magic is a Disney Channel Original Movie, based, in name only, on the book series of the same name from Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins. A teaser played during the premiere of Zombies 2. It premiered on July 31, 2020, scoring around 1.3 million viewers.
13-year-old Nory (Izabela Rose) and her best friend Reina (Siena Agudong) enter the Sage Academy for Magical Studies, where Nory's wonky magic lands her in a class for those with Upside-Down Magic, otherwise known as UDM. While many believe that the UDM’s unique powers make them a target to dangerous and evil shadow magic, Nory and her fellow UDM classmates set out to prove that Upside-Down Magic beats right-side-up!
The film opens up with Nory (Izabela Rose) explaining that she and her father live together after Nory's mother passed. When she was seven, Nory turned into a yellow kitten with dragon wings (dritten) when she was unpacking her stuff with her father in their new house.
Six years later, Nory is thirteen and can turn into combination animals that include three or more animals in each form. She also has friend named Reina Carvajal (Siena Agudong), who has fire powers; the two are to attend the prestigious magic boarding school Sage Academy.
At Sage Academy, there are different classes for each students: 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 Flickers class is for those who can bring things to them.
Reina shows off her flare skills while a few other students show abnormal abilities; Eliot Cohen can emit steam instead of fire, Pepper Paloma makes things fly away from her, Andres Padillo can fly to high heights but has trouble coming back down unless he uses his messenger bag to weigh him down, and 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 (UDM) program by Headmistress Knightslinger which is run by groundskeeper Budd Skriff. 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 form 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, hinting that 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.
- Izabela Rose as Nory Horace
- Siena Agudong as Reina Carvajal
- Vicki Lewis as Headmaster Knightslinger
- Kyle Howard as Budd Skriff
- Elie Samouhi as Elliot Cohen
- Alison Fernandez as Pepper
- Max Torina as Andres Padillo
- Cynthia Kaye McWilliams as Professor Argon
- Elaine Kao as Professor Han
- Yasmeen Fletcher as Chandra
- Amitai Marmorstein as Professor Lewis
- Callum Seagraim Arlie as Phillip
- The movie's premiere date is exactly five years after Descendants.
- This film is rated TV-PG.
- The soundtrack was released 3 months after the film premiered.
- Differences from the books:
- Unlike the books, Nory and her classmates attend Sage Academy instead of Dunwiddle Magic School.
- There is no "shadow magic" in the books.
- In the books, Upside-Down Magic is a polite way of addressing different magic, and a lot of students discriminate against the UDM students.
- Three UDM students from the books do not appear: Marigold (can shrink objects with her hands), Bax (can flux into inanimate objects and even move those objects while fluxed), and Sebastian (can see things that are invisible, particularly sound waves).
- Elliot can conjure smoke in the film when he has freezing magic in the books.
- In the books, Elliot could do "normal" flare magic though it was often followed by him unintentionally freezing objects
- In the books Elliot and Nory both learned how to control their Upside-Down Magic and do "normal" magic to a degree. Nory could hold her cat form for seventeen min by the end of book one. Presumably this becomes longer as she joins kittenball sports where wonky fluxing isn't allowed.
- Fuzzies did not always have the ability to talk to animals, but "normal" Fuzzies were able to calm animals.
- Pepper was a Fierce in the books, or someone who unintentionally always scared any animals that came near her. This also affected Nory and other Fluxers.
- Reina Carvajal was created only for the film, since she was not mentioned in the books.
- Headmaster Knightslinger takes over the role of Stone Horace (Nory's father) in the books.
- Stone Horace, Nory's father, is a bigot and kicks Nory out of the house due to her Upside-Down Magic. When he comes back later to watch her school performance in Book 3, he still refuses to accept Nory for having Upside-Down Magic. However, it is plausible that he accepted her in Book 7.
- In the books, Flickers are able to turn themselves and other objects invisible; in the movie, they have telekinesis. It is plausible that the Flicker ability was changed because of budget constraints.
- In the books Nory is 10/11-years. In the film, she is 13.
- Nory and the rest of the characters in the UDM world gain their powers when they are 10-years in the books. In the film, they gain their powers at varying time intervals.
- The UDM program was discontinued in the end of the film, while it continued it the books.
- Petski, Denise (August 19, 2019). "Disney Channel Sets Cast For ‘Upside-Down Magic’ Movie As Production Begins".