Spirited is the latest in the long history of adapting the classic Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol. However, this is the most modern musical update that I’ve seen in a long time (having been in one of the musical versions back in high school). It also features two great lead performances from Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell along with a great supporting cast and cameos. Full of humor, heart, and catchy songs, it’s just the film to get you into the Christmas spirit!
The film follows the basic premise of A Christmas Carol: Jacob Marley and the three spirits of Past, Present, and Future select a dark soul to be reformed before Christmas Day. However, unlike the original version, the afterlife is a musical and the haunting is a full blown production, full of songs, dance, cues, and transitions galore! However, this time the dark soul decides to shine the light back on the spirits themselves, particularly Present (Will Ferrell). Ferrell is a terrific choice to play Present, having already been a part of another Christmas classic in Elf. He brings his reliable humor into the film along with some great singing and dancing.
He also has great chemistry with Ryan Reynolds, who plays the unlucky dark soul Clint Briggs; he’s truly a modern day Scrooge using the power of social media to influence people all over the world. I didn’t know I wanted Ryan Reynolds in a musical before, but he does a great job with the song and dance and keeps up with Ferrell perfectly. It’s truly two lead performances and you can’t have one without the other.
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The supporting cast are great as well, especially Octavia Spencer and Patrick Page. Spencer plays Kimberly, Briggs’ VP who unexpectedly finds herself sucked into this holiday adventure. Page was a great choice for Marley as well; I especially loved that they were able to get some great bass notes into his song. There are some other fun casting choices and cameos as well, but I don’t want to spoil them for you because they’re too much fun!
Overall, I think this is going to be a new modern Christmas classic in the same vein as Elf. It’s not a perfect movie; it could have been trimmed down a little bit in the run time and had a few songs cut. However, the charm of the cast helps make up for it in the long run, especially Ferrell and Reynolds. If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit, this is the perfect way to do it once it arrives on Apple TV+ this Friday!