Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey review – an enthusiastic cast brings the spirit of the season It's time to believe at Christmas time.

3.5

Summary

There’s nothing like a film to celebrate the seasons and Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey manages to capture the magic with a worthwhile story and lovely songs.

This review of Netflix film Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey contains no spoilers. The family Christmas film was released on November 13, 2020.


With cinemas becoming a distant memory in 2020, it seems we are relying solely on Netflix for Christmas content. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a fantasy adventure in an imagined world, with toymakers and a town that was built for the season. The story follows a frantically curious toymaker named Jeronicus (Forest Whitaker) who after his inventions were all stolen by another toymaker named Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key) stops inventing. The movie also introduces his granddaughter, Journey (Madalen Mills), who helps her grandfather unearth a life-changing invention.

The Netflix film relies on costumes and settings — the environment is a plot device within itself as Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey provides the audience with seasonal magic. The movie enjoys its numbers, bringing soulful Christmas songs to break up scenes. The songs have a spirit to them, and the vocals shine — even Forest Whitaker puts in the effort to chime in with the lyrics.

The film puts in a worthwhile effort in capturing the essence of Christmas, but the true selling point is the grandfather/daughter relationship between Jeronicus and Journey. The slow, bubbling chemistry is what keeps the audience engaged — the toymaker is a complicated character, traumatized from an unfortunate past where his ideals in inventions were disrupted.

There’s a key Grinch-like message that runs in the story, which is to not give up on the spirit of Christmas. The toymaker aspect is a ploy to reinvigorate the magic of the season and to highlight a stubborn character that has lost his way, while his foe Gustafson lurks on the sidelines.

The main issue with Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is the running time — at a whopping two hours, we must question why the director felt the length was appropriate for a family Christmas film. Of course, capturing the importance of family while bringing in the singing numbers would have been quite the task, however, there are many scenes in this film that could have been shaven, or removed entirely.

But for a late evening by the fire Christmas film, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey hits the right notes with a black cast leading the fray to tell a holiday story. It’s such a shame that the running time is an off-putting aspect because this could easily be a seasonal rewatch.

There’s nothing like a film to celebrate the seasons and Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey manages to capture the magic with a worthwhile story and lovely songs.


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Daniel Hart

Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.

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