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Movie Review: Spirited * A Fresh Take On Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol – Beautiful Visuals, Great Comedy

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Movie Review: Spirited * A Fresh Take On Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol – Beautiful Visuals, Great Comedy

Each Christmas Eve, the Ghost of Christmas Present (Will Ferrell) selects one dark soul to be reformed by a visit from three spirits. But this season, he picked the wrong Scrooge. Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds) turns the tables on his ghostly host until Present finds himself reexamining his own past, present and future. For the first time, “A Christmas Carol” is told from the perspective of the ghosts in this hilarious musical twist on the classic Dickens tale. From Director Sean Anders (“Daddy’s Home,” “Instant Family”), written by Sean Anders and John Morris, with original songs by Oscar winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“La La Land”) and production numbers choreographed by Chloe Arnold (“The Late Late Show with James Corden”), this modern retelling is a sweet and spicy holiday treat.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Emma D. comments, “Spirited is a fresh new take on Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol, paired with beautiful visuals and comedy. The film is incredibly entertaining, but misses the mark a bit with the music and storyline.” See her full review below.

Spirited By Emma D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Spirited is a fresh new take on Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol, paired with beautiful visuals and comedy. The film is incredibly entertaining, but misses the mark a bit in regards to the music and storyline.

Spirited follows the story of the Spirit of Christmas Present (Will Ferrel), on his mission to reform Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds) and his heartless ways. With the help of Past (Sunita Mani) and Future (Tracy Morgan), the spirits hatch a plan to teach Briggs about the error of his ways. Through a series of events, Briggs turns the tables on the Spirit of Christmas Present and together they re-examine their past in order to live the lives they always dreamed of.

Spirited is a fun and upbeat film, but the music leaves much to be desired. Ferrel and Reynolds are excellent comedic actors and every scene that they are in together is super entertaining and funny. Although they are great actors, neither of them is particularly musically inclined, so unfortunately, many of their songs and musical numbers fall flat. However, one musical number that I really enjoyed was the “Good Afternoon” scene as it is filled with great choreography and energy, which makes it really fun to watch. The concept of the film is so clever and refreshing, but its downfall is that the plot has a lot of holes in it. There are a lot of plot-lines that are introduced, but never followed up on, which leaves the audience hanging with questions regarding the storyline. Plus, the consequences that Clint Briggs has to his “cancel culture” concept lack impact. Spirited has a lot of jokes relating to current pop culture and news, which makes it lose its timeless quality, as many of the jokes may be funny today but will not make sense for future viewers. It also has a lot of curse words and adult jokes, which makes it a little less family-friendly. The visuals in the film are all beautiful, especially in the scenes with the Spirits and their office and also in the “transitions.”

Spirited addresses the negative impacts of social media and finding yourself. The scenes regarding social media and cyberbullying are very impactful, especially for teenagers and younger audiences. Parents should be aware that the film has a lot of curse words and adult jokes, which may be inappropriate for younger viewers.

I give Spirited 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It is available now in select theaters and will be available on Apple TV+ beginning November 18, 2022.

Trailer:

Harriet the Spy * A Sweet Series Bringing Back To Life A Classic Character

Posted by rstapholz on
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Movie Reviews
Harriet the Spy * A Sweet Series Bringing Back To Life A Classic Character

Set in 1960s New York when the original book was published, Harriet the Spy follows the outspoken and perpetually curious 11-year-old Harriet M. Welsch. More than anything, Harriet wants to be a writer, and in order to be a good writer, she’ll need to know everything. And to know everything means she’ll need to spy … on everyone! Produced by The Jim Henson Company, the animated series stars acclaimed actor Beanie Feldstein as Harriet, a fiercely independent and adventurous 11-year-old girl, alongside Emmy Award winner Jane Lynch as Ole Golly, Harriet’s larger-than-life, no-nonsense nanny. The first half of the series (five episodes) debuts on Apple TV+ on Friday, November 19, 2021, and the second half will return with additional episodes in spring 2022. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “A sweet series bringing back to life a classic character, Apple TV+’s Harriet the Spy is a fun watch, though its animation doesn’t break any barriers. Each episode of Harriet the Spy has a nuanced lesson – finding comfort in isolation, discovering yourself, and setting boundaries are just a few examples.” See his full review below.

Harriet the Spy

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

https://youtu.be/NYbIRX8T6ow

Harriet_the_Spy_Photo_010105.jpg

 

A sweet series bringing back to life a classic character, Apple TV+’s Harriet the Spy is a fun watch, though its animation doesn’t break any barriers.

Harriet the Spy follows 11-year-old Harriet M. Welch (Beanie Feldstein), the same wannabe spy popularized by Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 books. She’s a normal kid, attending a prep school with her friends in an indeterminate time without cell phones and with nannies wearing tight updos. What sets Harriet apart from her classmates, though, is that she embarks upon unique espionage adventures across New York City in a quest to become the best writer and best spy ever. It is unfortunate that only one of the five episodes in the first season deals directly with spying. Regardless, Harriet’s adventures are enjoyable in their sheer otherworldliness. For example, she uses a dumbwaiter to spy on a weary aristocrat.

Feldstein’s voice acting provides the series with a warm tone, and most of the humor springs from her dialogue. There are also a few comedy Easter eggs thrown in there – see if you can catch one in episode 2! The animation is clean and colorful, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. There are lots of hand-drawn lines with an emphasis on natural movement. I wish the animation team had tried something out of the box for Harriet, who truly is an out-of-the-box kind of gal. The show is easy to digest, and very addicting — each of the five episodes in season 1 is 20 to 25 minutes long, and you won’t be able to stop watching!

Each episode of Harriet the Spy has a nuanced lesson – finding comfort in isolation, discovering yourself, and setting boundaries are just a few examples.

I give Harriet the Spy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. The first five episodes aired on November 19, 2021 and five more will air in Spring, 2022.

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