‘Spirited’ Review: Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell Find New Cheer in ‘A Christmas Carol’
Sean Anders’ musical twist on the Dickens classic makes some odd choices but has its heart in the right place.
Ryan Reynolds’ character, Clint Briggs, is not a good guy. In Spirited, Clint is described as the “ideal combo of Mussolini & Seacrest” as he launches an online conflict in an effort to generate revenue.
We All Anticipate A Change Of Heart Brought On By Three Ghosts, Straight From Charles Dickens’ Imagination, For It Is Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, however, as a shackled Jacob Marley (Patrick Page) explains to Clint what he’s in for, Marley responds, “And every other adaptation no one asked for,” to Clint’s question about if this is similar to the Dickens tale and the Bill Murray-Bobcat Goldthwait film Scrooged.
The problem with Christmas stories is that they are frequently stale, based on themes and tropes that we’ve heard a million times before, and loaded with cheesiness and sweetness that a different movie probably wouldn’t get away with at any other time of the year.
Spirited seeks to add something new to this well-worn story while acknowledging that we have already heard it. While this strategy doesn’t always succeed, when it does, Spirited is a delightful retelling of a well-known tale.
The events of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” are a yearly ritual in the universe of Spirited. On Christmas Eve, Marley and his team try to turn around a soul who needs saving.
Marley’s most dependable employee in the Will Ferrell, who plays the Ghost of Christmas Present, has been playing the role for so long that he was eligible for retirement 46 seasons ago. Present attempts his hardest task yet in an effort to change this Scrooge when he comes across Clint Briggs and learns that his file lists him as “unredeemable.”
Spirited Also Has An Air Of Falseness Throughout, Which Is Partially Logical Given That A Large Portion Of The Plot Revolves Around Reenactments Of Clint’s Past.
However, the movie doesn’t feel “real” even when it tries to take place in the “real world.” The CGI surroundings are apparent and distracting, for instance, when Present and Kimberly go for a walk on Christmas Eve.
The more realistic they are meant to be, the more fake-looking they appear to be. Similar to this, when the movie does start singing, the musical numbers almost seem constrained by the appearance of the little settings. Again, they are not decisions that derail the movie, but they are debatable ones that might alienate some viewers.
However, Spirited Is Primarily A Charming Movie With A Good Heart, Despite Some Of Its Weirder Decisions.
It’s simple to be pessimistic about brand-new Christmas movies, especially ones like Spirited that aim to convey the same tale in a different way. But Spirited has a—for lack of a better word—a spirit that makes it simple to get sucked in and allows you to concentrate on what works while largely ignoring what doesn’t.
Spirited is aware that they are giving you a story you have already heard many times, but at least they give their take enough heart and originality to make it worthwhile.