Netflix’s new festive family film beautifully combines a Victorian style set up with contemporary music and heartwarming story to make a new favourite Christmas film.
Magic. Check. Imaginative toy inventions. Check. A heartwarming story. Check. There’s no denying that Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a wonderful family friendly musical that captures the audience’s imagination and heart – putting it as a strong contender for a new festive favourite film.
The film follows toy inventor Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) whose amazing creations wow children and adults alike. Until one day an important book that helps him with his creations is stolen from him by his apprentice Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key) – leading to turmoil in his life and estrangement from his daughter. Can he learn to love inventing again and recover his relationship with his daughter and granddaughter?
Written by David E. Talbert, the script is filled with warmth and humour as it explores topics such as not only grief, loss and family – but also the power of having hope and faith in yourself. It is delightfully corny in places, with the dialogue between the two villains of the piece the evil toy Don Juan Diego (Ricky Martin) and Gustafson proving to be particularly pantomime-fun.
The whole film is filled with visual treats – with the combination of live action and animation proving to be really seamless and beautiful to watch in the moments in which the story reverts to narration. Meanwhile, the gorgeous Victorian style set and costume designs really dazzle – making a lovely contrast to the contemporary music and choreography that give it all a real theatricality.
Meanwhile, the quality of the music is also really delightful and it would be easy to picture this story being brought to life on stage as a musical. John Debney and Michael Diskint’s glorious and uplifting score has some really memorable songs including the vibrant ‘This Day’ that really sets up the story well, the hilarious ‘Magic Man G’ that is surprisingly catchy for a villains song and the beautiful ‘Square Root of Possible’.
Jingle Jangle is filled with lively and enjoyable performances – not least from newcomer Madalen Mills as Journey who offers a really dynamic and confident performance that shows her to be an actress to certainly keep an eye out on in the future. Elsewhere, Lisa Davina Phillip as Ms Johnston has a wonderful sense of comedy and puts a smile on the audience’s face when she appears, Keegan-Michael Key is delightfully villainous as Gustafson and Forest Whitaker makes for a sympathetic Jeronicus.
Filled with Christmas magic, Jingle Jangle is utterly enjoyable to watch from start to finish.
By Emma Clarendon
Jingle Jangle is available to watch on Netflix now.