Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is Netflix’s latest Holiday addition for the season. It is a musical fantasy written and directed by David E. Talbert. Jingle Jangle has been in development for several years in the hopes of it becoming a stage musical, but Talbert had been unsuccessful in getting someone to back the project. This one you can definitely gather up the kiddies and make it family movie night to enjoy.
It tells the story of a toymaker, Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) who is betrayed by his apprentice and almost loses it all until a surprise visit from his estranged granddaughter Journey (Madalen Mills) brings the promise of reigniting not only his imaginative genius, but his inner magic.
It is a musical with a Black family at the core, something that you definitely don’t see that often when it comes to Christmas movies. Set during the Victorian era and the age of the industrial revolution, you see the influences in the costume designs with hints of not only steampunk additives, but African textile prints in an explosion of bright colours! The dancing is also very symbolic of African tribal dancing with lots of jumping and arm movements. This is also a rare sight and is definitely captivating to the viewer.
We get a rare chance of hearing Whitaker’s vocals which is a surprisingly good blend of huskiness and crooning. I have never seen Whitaker in a role where the actor doesn’t manage to adapt and meld perfectly to his character. He is excellent as the broken-hearted older version of Jeronicus. I got a real kick out of him getting upset whenever people didn’t call him by his proper name, and when he was almost molested repeatedly by Ms Johnston (Lisa Davina Phillip), a particularly feisty postwoman who let’s “Jerry”, as she affectionately calls him, know quite blatantly how she feels about him. It was absolutely hilarious, and Whitaker reacts with the suitable amount of awkwardness yet hinted interest. It was too cute!
Ricky Martin and Keegan-Michael Key made the perfect villainous pair with Martin playing the role of Don Juan Diego, the overinflated, egotistical matador doll that Jeronicus gave life to, and Key as Jeronicus’s apprentice who steals his inventions and yet comes back for more.
Phylicia Rashad plays the role of the doting grandmother who decides to tell the story of Jeronicus Jangle to her two grandchildren on Christmas Eve. She narrates the story with her mischievous twinkling eyes as we soon realise that she is withholding her own secret from her grandchildren and the audience as well.
With strong casting and meaningful songs that help tell the story of betrayal, magic, love, broken hearts that need mending, and to just believe for all things to turn out well, we’ve got a Christmas movie that manages to be relatable to young children of different ethnicities in a way that Santa Claus (a gigantic, fat, white man dressed in red and white) appeals to the masses.
It’s nice to escape from the harsh reality that real life delivers on a daily basis and immerse ourselves in the fantasy and magic that Jingle Jangle brings to us, with all the pizzazz and frenzy of a hip Broadway musical production.
Alice’s Score: 6.5 out of 10
For my review of Netflix holiday series Dash & Lily (which is a Christmas story for older audiences) you can click here.
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump.
I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook, my Instagram is alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For more on me you can click here.