The holly jolly haunts are back as the beloved Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol gets a new modern retelling with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds leading the way. Switching things up to the perspective of the ghosts, Spirited is a rather fresh take on the source material, but the lackluster musical piece weighs everything down.
Each year, an insufferable soul is selected by the Ghost of Christmas Present (Ferrell) and led on a journey through their life to see the error in their ways, thus changing them for the better. But when Present sets his sights on a controversial and mean-spirited businessman (Reynolds), the ghost will find the roles reversed, leading him on a journey through his own past and hopes for the future.
It tries very hard to set itself up as its own distinctive tale, despite the stacked history of adaptations behind it. I appreciated it not being the same old Scrooge story, finding a new path by flipping the script. But it’s the self-aware musical bit that derails much of the narrative.
And at a touch over two hours, oh my, does it feel long. Just as the plot progresses, there’s a song and dance which prevents it from having a decent pace. While the dance numbers are flashy and well-choreographed, the songs are tedious and forgetful. And I certainly enjoy a musical, but something about this one felt clumsy.
Spirited is a well-meaning film, but it feels overstuffed. Without the songs, it would have had less distractions and flowed more effectively for the story. And it’s not fully clear who this film is for: musical buffs, comedy fans, families or adults. It’s not terrible since it still maintains a holiday spark, but it’s not memorable.
Spirited is now streaming on Apple TV+