JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY – Film Review

Decades after his apprentice betrays him, a once joyful toy maker finds new hope when his bright young granddaughter appears on his doorstep.

For a couple of days now, I have been hearing a friend of mine rave about how utterly joyous and terrific a new film titled Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is. I was shocked that I hadn’t heard of it before seeing as how it stars Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, and also Ricky Martin. It just came out this past week and since I am sort of a sucker for musicals, especially nowadays, I figured I would go ahead and give it a shot to see if it really is that good. Plus, the Christmas season is right around the corner, so I wanted to get in the spirit a little bit.

Thankfully, Jingle Jangle is definitely the right movie to watch if you want to get in the holiday spirit. This is not only one of the best movies of the year, but it’s also one of the most uplifting and purely entertaining films of the year. Writer/director David E. Talbert manages to tell a genuinely compelling and heartfelt story of love, family, and hope as well as showcasing some truly excellent musical numbers. Sadly, there aren’t too many musical numbers throughout but the ones that we do get are terrific and will stay in your head long after the credits roll. They are incredibly catchy and they’re all feel-good.

But on top of that, Forest Whitaker delivers one of his greatest performances in years as the lead character Jeronicus Jangle. He feels remarkably powerful and delightful in the role, and it’s hard to not crack a smile whenever he’s on-screen. Plus, the dynamic he shares between his co-stars is incredibly delightful to watch.

Courtesy of Netflix

Keegan-Michael Key surprisingly doesn’t get a whole bunch of screen time, which was a little bit disappointing. He appears every once in a while and does come across as a cliché character sometimes, but gratefully, the performance he gives is certainly great, and it’s obvious that every actor involved with this project had the time of their lives.

Something else that needs to be praised heavily about Jingle Jangle is the cinematography by Remi Adefarasin as well as the production design. Whether it’s the sleepy and snowy streets, the interior of the marvelous Jangle and Things store, or the night-life brimming with joy and hope, Jingle Jangle is one of the most spectacular looking movies of the year. It’s candy for the eye in every way imaginable.

As a whole, there really isn’t that much to complain about regarding Talbert’s film. It’s an excellently-paced family adventure that will surely warm your heart and put you in the holiday spirit. It isn’t afraid to get emotional at times, too. Jingle Jangle is definitely a win for the season.

Overall Grade: A-

MPAA Rating: PG for some thematic elements and peril

Cast: Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose, Madalen Mills, Phylicia Rashad, Ricky Martin, Lisa Davina Phillip, Kieron L. Dyer, Sharon Rose

Directed by: David E. Talbert

Distributed by: Netflix

Release Date: November 13, 2020

Running Time: 122 minutes

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