Do you love holiday films? How about Musicals? If you have answered yes to either of these questions, then ‘Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Story’ is the movie you MUST watch this Friday (Nov 13th). An imaginary world comes to life in this holiday tale of eccentric toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker), his adventurous granddaughter Journey (Madalen Mills), and a magical invention that has the power to change their lives forever.
This is a holiday musical that anyone can enjoy, kids and adults alike! I loved the opening sequence with all of the bright colorful set designs, showcasing all of Jeronicus’s inventions and with a song that feels like it came out of the Hamilton Christmas Special playbook. I was dancing in my seat and felt a sense of joy in every song that was showcased. At the beginning of the film, we are introduced to a younger Jeronicus (Justin Cornwell) who has an apprentice Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key) who just can’t seem to make his inventions work the was his teacher can, so he decides to run off with Jeronicus’s newest invention, leaving Jeronicus without a spark of imagination to invent again, boarding up his colorful palace of wonder, and trading it all in to be a local pawn shop fixer.
It isn’t until his granddaughter Journey comes to stay with Jeronicus that he begins to rekindle his flame of inventiveness, brought on by her love and admiration of his (and possibly her own) gifts. But Gustafson has also returned, in the hopes of stealing another toy and claim as his own, and Journey will now have to help her Grandpa create a new toy and save it from being taken from him. The story itself is fairly similar to other films but what makes ‘Jingle Jangle’ impressive for me is its diverse cast, great music, and heartwarming tone that I think anyone over the holidays can get behind and spend a couple of hours watching a fun movie with their family.
The acting across the board is good, with the standout performance going to Madalen Mills as Journey. I loved her character as spunky kind and unyielding in the face of not following your dreams. She has a great song in this that I think many kids will be singing after watching, much like how they did with Frozen’s “Let it go”. Forest Whitaker can sometimes feel like he might not know what movie he is in or what line he’s about to read, but still has a lot of charm and wit to his character. Keegan-Michael Key also chews up the scenes he is in and I liked his character, he knew exactly how to play this role and it shows in the final product. I do think the runtime could be shorter for the sake of utilizing the singing and dance numbers sooner because some of the more dialogue-driven scenes tend to linger more than they should to keep with the film’s pace.
If you are looking for a good holiday film to watch with the whole family then please, check out ‘Jingle Jangle’. Great music, good performances, and worth the watch for me!