Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020) - 'Tis the Season


Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)
Genre: Family, Fantasy, Musical
Length:  122 minutes
Rating: PG
Production/Distribution: Golden Girl, Get Lifted Film Company, 260 Degrees Entertainment, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Netflix
Director: David E. Talbert
Writer: David E. Talbert
Actors: Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose, Madalen Mills, Phylicia Rashad, Ricky Martin, Justin Cornwell, Sharon Rose, Lisa Davina Phillip, Kieron L. Dyer, Miles Barrow, Diaana Babnicova, Ria Calvin, Kenyah Sandy, Tobias Poppe, Abraham Popoola
Blurb from IMDb
: An imaginary world comes to life in a holiday tale of an eccentric toymaker, his adventurous granddaughter, and a magical invention that has the power to change their lives forever.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is destined to become a holiday classic.
Not only did I absolutely adore this movie, I believe that it will resonate well with most audiences. All the ingredients for a rousing and magical family Christmas miracle are present within this film, and it does, indeed, take you on quite the emotional journey to get there. (I also love the play on words with the title.)
I can certainly relate to Mr. Jangle in many ways. Sometimes wonky things happen and it’s easy to crawl into a little hole while distance grows between yourself and those you love. At least, it’s been known to happen for me. I find my way under a rock even without disastrous life events sending me scurrying for cover. It’s the heaviness of depression whispering in one’s ear, weighing you down, and not knowing what to say or how to spark yourself out of the funk. After what happens to Mr. Jangle, I can certainly empathize with his situation.

When you’re stuck in a rut of just going through the motions, sometimes it takes a good kick in the pants by someone that cares for you to get you motivated to pick yourself up and get going again. A fire requires some sort of spark to ignite, after all. I loved the nuances of how the persistent young aspiring inventor and the granddaughter become that catalyst as they chip away at what’s holding Jangle down.
Of course, who doesn’t enjoy a story that not only involves miracles but also justice and redemption?!
For the icing on the Christmas cake, the cast was absolutely phenomenal. Forest Whitaker (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, How it Ends, Godfather of Harlem) was remarkable. This part called for quite the emotional gauntlet and, as always, he rose to the occasion with grace. I always enjoy seeing Phylicia Rashad (Do No Harm, Creed II, Black Box) involved in projects as well. Unlike the last movie we reviewed that she was involved with, here, she got to evoke those warm and wholesome motherly vibes that I fell in love with back in the 80s and 90s during her sit-com run.

I really enjoyed this break-out performance for Madalein Mills, who plays Jangle’s granddaughter. This is her first feature film role, having previously been a model for children’s clothing and a young Broadway star. She brought joy, wonder, curiosity, and heart to her character, lighting up the screen with her presence. Ms. Mills is certainly a talent to keep an eye on for the future.
I wondered how the musical aspect was going to work into this movie. Sometimes the song and dance numbers can make a film feel choppy if it’s not done correctly. In this case, everything flowed so well. While the large group dances aren’t something you’d necessarily see happening in real life, they felt organic to the story or even brought in little pops of humor here and there.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey was everything that a cinematic treatment of what could be a successful Broadway production should be. I would recommend this movie in a heartbeat for family holiday viewing, and I intend to watch it again with my daughter before this season is over. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 90%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 73%
Metascore –  69%
Metacritic User Score – 6.2/10
IMDB Score – 6.5/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5

P.S. - Additional scenes are shown in the form of posed toys during the final credits. 

Movie Trailer:

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