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.