Movie #99 2022: Spirited (2022)

Well, here we (finally) have it. The last of my First Watches of 2022. Is it mildly irritating that I only got to 99 films and not a well-rounded 100? Absolutely. Actually, it’s more accurate that it has completely boiled my blood… not to be dramatic about it or anything. But anyway, here it is! And yes, it’s a Christmas movie. Sorry, not sorry.

Spirited is different in that it’s not your ordinary Christmas movie. Now, it may be the 5973th adaptation of Charles DickensA Christmas Carol, but it’s not quite as you’d expect. Yes, this is a much more modernised version, and it also happens to be a musical for good measure. In this case, it’s accepted that every year, the Ghost of Christmas Present selects one dark soul to receive a visit from three ghosts in order to make them a better person. This year, however, it seems that they might just have picked the wrong Scrooge.

Within this film, there’s a moment where they do a meta reference to no one needing another A Christmas Carol adaptation. They were right. And yet… Spirited is somehow still super easy to enjoy. 

Perhaps the main reason I enjoyed this movie was Will Ferrell. In all honesty, I just love the guy. Is he the best singer? Definitely not. Is he the best actor? Still no. But there’s something about his charm and his star power than you just can’t deny. This role suits him almost too well actually, and he brings all the best facets of his personality to it. I still can’t stand Ryan Reynolds – also for reasons unknown – but I guess he’s fine here too. 

Anyway yes, this is yet another Scrooge musical when it comes down to it. However, there are a few little twists and original turns that make it a little less samey than some of the others. Whilst the majority of the musical numbers are okay but not memorable, the one that stands out head and shoulders above the rest is ‘Good Afternoon’; a song that has the perfect mix of comedy and entertainment, which combine to make a strong Broadway ditty. Plus, it gets points for a surprise Judi Dench cameo. 

Unfortunately, Spirited suffers in that it tries to do too much. Instead of this being one well-rounded story, it’s almost as if the writers really wanted to cram two full movies into one here. Now it may be that since the two leading actors are pretty big names that they felt as if they were obliged to do this, but sadly it means their stories don’t intertwine quite smoothly enough and it makes the film far, far longer than it needed to be. 

Although I was entertained most of the way through, there’s no way anyone will be calling this Ferrell’s best Christmas movie any time soon. Regardless, it’s easy to have some silly fun with this one and it would be surprising if it doesn’t gain more of an audience with each passing December 25th.

Spirited is currently available to stream on Apple TV+ in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Enjoyability Rating: ½


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