Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020) Review

A treat for the eyes as well as the ears. This may not become a new Christmas classic, but it will warm the cockles of your heart.

Certificate: PG

Director: David E. Talbert

Screenwriter: David E. Talbert

Starring: Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville

Genre: Family, Fantasy

Runtime: 122 Minutes

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

In the gloriously vibrant town of Cobbleton, legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle’s (Forest Whitaker) fanciful inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. But when his trusted apprentice (Keegan-Michael Key) steals his most prized creation, it’s up to his equally bright and inventive granddaughter (Madalen Mills) – and a long-forgotten invention – to heal old wounds and reawaken the magic within. Written by Netflix

Whoa!!! This might not be an original idea, or have a plot that will leave your jaw on the floor, but it is so bright and colourful and beautiful that you will almost forget about how average the plot is.  You can call it from the beginning, it’s the classic story of a group of misfits overcoming evil using nothing but their wits and plucky attitude.  There may be differences between how they get there and what obstacles they have to overcome, but in the end everything will turn out OK, and in this case there will be a big finale musical number where everyone sings about their feelings.

Right from the opening scenes the word to describe this film is ‘opulent.’  The costumes are phenomenal, such beautiful colours and patterns and fabrics.  And the steampunk aesthetic of the rest of the world is just as joyful to look at.  There is something really satisfying about all those exposed cogs and gears that is mesmerising to watch. I am not going to lie, the thing that really drew me in where the stills and the poster that I saw, showing off this wonderful colourful world.  And I imagine that will be the same for a lot of people.  Even people not disposed to watching Christmas movies or musicals.

The film’s musical score includes songs by John Legend and Philip Lawrence and they range from everything from Hip Hop to Jazz, sure not many of the songs are real ear worms and a lot of them are pretty forgettable, but there is something about a musical number that adds a bit of magic to any film, and the changing styles of music help to keep you interested.  This whole film has very ‘Greatest Showman’ vibes to it.  With the very spontaneous musical numbers and luxurious costumes, and I think that will add massive appeal to the gajillions of people that flocked to see that film.

For a twee Christmas family affair, this film boasts some excellent acting performances.  I was a little wary, when I was told that Forest Whitaker was the lead, as I could really picture him as taking centre stage in a musical.  He only has a few lines to sing, but does manage t hold him own, I think I am just eternally scarred from my experiences with films like Cats and Les Mis, where some of those actors had no place singing a single bar, let alone an entire song.  But singing aside his acting is as strong as it has ever been.  Keegan-Michael Key plays a delectable villain, complete with trademark goatee, immediately signalling him as the bad guy of the piece, but the fly away standout performance was from new-comer, Madalen Mills.  Mark my words, this girl will be a Disney princess one day.  Her singing is excellent, her acting as the charming and sassy Journey was delightful, and she owned every scene she was in.  Such a delight.

‘Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey’ is streaming on Netflix now!

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