I saw the trailer for this movie several weeks ago and my insides went squeeeee! I’m not usually the type to watch Christmas movies (unless it is Muppet Christmas Carol that is), and especially not before Dec 1, but I knew I had to watch Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey ASAP. Not just because it was shiny and new, but also because it promised so much joy.
What is Jingle Jangle About?
A creator and purveyor of borderline magical toys, Jeronicus Jangle, receives a very special package. Using his Jangle-izer 2000 and the mysterious ooze in the package, he brings a matador doll fully to life. In his excitement, he’s dismissive of his apprentice, who is convinced by the doll to “borrow indefinitely” (AKA steal) all of Jangle’s designs. Jangle is devastated by the betrayal, then loses his wife, and there’s nothing his young daughter can do to bring back his love of life and laughter.
…until 30 years later, his granddaughter arrives on his doorstep and everything changes.
What Did I Think of Jingle Jangle?
This is a movie aimed at children, which is important for an adult viewer/reviewer to remember. The dialog is a bit on the nose and some of the characters are downright cartoonish, but that is totally acceptable in the genre.
The costumes and hair were stunning and the aesthetic was Steampunk through and through, so that alone makes it worth a watch for Steampunk fans. The sets were also lovingly designed and executed, with intricate clockwork and cast iron to die for.
There are some wonderful vocal performances, especially Madelen Mills, who portrayed the 10-year-old granddaughter. Her solo number was the first in the film that actually moved me, though in general I did feel the music was stronger in the second half of the film regardless. Forest Whitaker did a wonderful job as the understated Jeronicus. And I had no idea that Keegan-Michael Key, who played the villain, could sing!
The choreography was fun and included some traditionally African steps and movements, and I liked seeing the little flashes of African prints in the underskirts of the women. This really added to the feeling of freshness and newness. I was seeing things I didn’t expect and it was great.
It’s a fun film with a good Christmas message about it never being too late to open your heart in believe in magic.