'Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey' Review: Netflix's festive classic promises to reawaken the magic within
Spoilers for 'Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey'
If you're tired of re-watching old-time classics with your family during the holidays this year, we highly recommend watching Netflix's charmingly creative film 'Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey'. With no better words to describe it, it is an ode to intelligence, creativity and magic as it takes us on a journey that reminds adults of their younger days and encourages children towards a bright future.
From the breaking of a family business to the joy of bringing it right back, there is not one part of this story that will have you bored. It's a musical adventure, with animations that scream Christmas spirit! Set in the town of Cobbleton, the classic follows Jeronicus Jangle (Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker), an intelligent and innovative toymaker who instills wonder in those that buy his works.
Unfortunately, his apprentice Gustafson (Emmy winner Keegan-Michael Key) steals one of his most precious creations leading to a story that, although sad at times, brings about a hopeful ending. What's even more interesting is that the entire cast and those in the fictional world are Black, which is not something that many see in films that are considered Christmas classics.
It's not only a celebration and the beginning of opening the genre of holiday movies to a much more diverse platform but also shows how films can raise real-world children with confidence that they too, one day, could be part of that fictional world on screen.
After Gustafson breaks down Jeronicus' world by stealing his blueprints, we see Jeronicus in his later years facing life's struggles alone. With the arrival of his estranged granddaughter, Journey (Madalen Mills), his world begins to change slowly as the genius in him shows sparks of promise yet again — except this time, he has help.
Journey, as a character, is not only beautiful but also shines with vibrant intelligence when it comes to building, solving and inventing — a role model, no less, for anyone her age watching. We'd like to tell you the wonders of the tale but that would simply take away the whimsical aspect of it.
However, we can tell you that your feet will tap to the beat, you'll smile without even knowing you are, emotion will take over more times than not and you will be filled with the promise of holiday spirit. If those aren't the ingredients of a holiday movie — we don't know what is.
The film is two hours long and although that may seem tedious for a holiday movie, it's filled with elaborate and quirky ensembles. The start of the film shows two grandchildren ask their grandmother (Phylicia Rashad) to tell them a holiday story, "I think it's time for a new story," she says and with that her grandchildren, along with us the audience is taken on a ride to the world of ''The Invention of Jeronicus Jangle'.
While Christmas may look a lot different this year due to the pandemic, this musical extravaganza is what families might cling to on cold nights with hot cocoa. It's inclusive when it comes to people of color, it's impressive in its efforts in glorifying intelligence in invention and an absolute delight to watch. If anything, the visual aesthetic is probably what will put the film up on a quirky but deserved pedestal. You'll want to watch it more than once, trust us — hence we deem it a classic.
'Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey' is now available to stream on Netflix.