Decades after his trusted apprentice betrayed him, a once-joyful toymaker finds new hope when his kind and curious granddaughter comes into his life.
Runtime: 2hr 4m
Director: David E. Talbert
Starring: Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose, Madalen Mills, Phylicia Rashad, Ricky Martin, Justin Cornwell, Sharon Rose, Lisa Davina Phillip, Kieron Dyer
Information Page: https://www.newonnetflix.info/info/80232043
A beautifully produced and well written alternative Christmas film.
This shouldn’t need saying by now but for any readers in the UK I feel the need to clarify that this film has nothing to do with Jimmy Savile. There, with that out of the way let’s see what “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” is really about. Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) is a great toy maker and inventor with a few magic tricks up his sleeves who reveals his brand new toys just in time for Christmas. At the start of the film we see him putting the finishing touches to a 12 inch matador, voiced by Ricky Martin, that can actually talk and move – that’s the kind of amazing toys that are for sale in his shop, Jangles & Things. His trainee, Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key), is also trying hard to create new gadgets and toys but isn’t quite up to standard. Gustafson feels like a failure and and runs away, taking the matador, and Jeronicus’ book of inventions, on his way…
From the opening scenes you can tell this is a big production. The sets are amazing and carry a bit of a steam-punk vibe; the costumes are full of bright greens and purples that really stand out while still perfectly fitting in to the theme; the music, well, what can I say? The music was created by John Debney who also created the songs for “The Greatest Showman” (along with songs by John Legend and Philip Lawrence) and they really do work well. I’m not a fan of musicals by any stretch of the imagination, but the songs and dancing just flow so perfectly and work incredibly well with the film. There’s nothing forced – the whole production just…. works!
Roll on 30 years and Jeronicus is a deflated and grumpy old man who has changed his once-great toy store into a pawn shop. He is still inventing things but has lost his spark and, to make things worse, his daughter Jessica (Anika Noni Rose) has moved away and they’ve lost touch. As business is getting worse, the bank comes calling demanding to see a new invention in order to keep the shop open. Around this time Jessica decides to send her own daughter, Journey (newcomer Madalen Mills) to see her grandfather Jeronicus. Journey has a gift for inventing as well and befriends the shop assistant Edison (Kieron Dyer). The new friends then discover an great invention, the Buddy 3000, that Jeronicus couldn’t get working and, surprise surprise, Journey gets it working. Unfortunately Buddy gets stolen by Gustafson and the pair go on an adventure to get him back and save Jangles & Things from having to close down.
“Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” is a highly enjoyable Christmas film for those who want something a bit different. It’s set at Christmas and, while you kind of already know what the outcome will be, it’s a fun, musical adventure along the way. The film is just over 2 hours but it really doesn’t feel that long. The cast play their parts incredibly well, the music and choreography are a joy and the film is visually stunning. The story is nicely told and, like any good Christmas movie should, will give you a nice, warm feeling inside. This could well become and annual Christmas favourite simply because it’s not just a Christmas film.
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