By: Ainsley Northrop
On Nov. 11, the new holiday movie Spirited debuted in theaters across the country, and on Nov. 18, the film made its way to the small screen on Apple TV+.
The movie musical draws inspiration from the classic Charles Dickens tale A Christmas Carol. The timeless story — written in 1843 — follows the plot of a harsh banker named Ebenezer Scrooge as the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future haunt him with hopes of making him a better person. Scrooge eventually turns his life around before it is too late, using his money and newfound kindness to do good in the community that he had once terrorized.
Spirited utilizes A Christmas Carol as a baseline for the story, but puts a modern spin on it. The first major change is that the ghosts work in a modern office and, despite being dead, function as regular people. When they haunt people, they do so intending to create a “ripple” of good, and as opposed to the eerie magic in the classic story, each of the three ghosts are portrayed through people filling the roles, using special effects, and wearing costumes.
The film features various actors, such as Will Ferrell — who plays Present — and Ryan Reynolds, who portrays Clint Briggs, the parallel of Ebenezer Scrooge. These actors carry the movie and make it a hit that various people are sure to enjoy.
The film has no short supply of musical numbers, and the dancing skills of the ensemble are spot-on. In fact, several songs, such as Ripple, were cut and moved to the credits because of the abundance of music. Even though they are enjoyable, the songs are definitely on the long side, and the movie has about three times where one could easily assume it has ended. Despite these extraneous sections, the musical numbers overall add to the fun, spunky, and enjoyable feeling of the movie.
As the story progresses, we see blatant parallels between A Christmas Carol and Spirited. We even discover — spoiler alert — that Present, the ghost who has taken over the operation of changing Briggs into a good person, was Scrooge in his past life. When Briggs gets Present to admit this, it sparks a hilarious subplot in which Briggs attempts to revert Present back to his more carefree Scrooge ways. He does so in the musical number Good Afternoon, in which they run around Scrooge’s town insulting townsfolk and even end up dancing an elaborate tap number. This adds to the extreme, exaggerated satire of the show.
Although cheesy at times, Spirited is an enjoyable, family-friendly movie that will fill you with joy, get you in the holiday spirit, and possibly even become a new favorite.