Typically, I do not like starting with anything Christmas until after the Thanksgiving holiday. People just keep making the Christmas holiday celebration earlier and earlier.
That includes the movie community as well, as Netflix dropped this musical, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey a few weeks ago. I ignored it for a while, but I saw a very high Rotten Tomatoes score for it, which I had not expected. I know Netflix has been having some great movies this year, so I decided that it would be a good addition to my queue.
Brilliant young girl Journey (Madalen Mills) arrived at her eccentric grandfather’s business with a hope. Her grandfather was Jeronicus Jingle (Forest Whitaker), one of the great inventors of all-time, but an inventor who had lost his way after an old apprentice Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key) had betrayed him years before, stealing his book of inventions.
Due to the betrayal, Jeronicus had lost the the magic and he had succumb to depression. The special ability that led him to becoming the greatest toymaker in the world deserted him.
Jingle Jangle was a bit of a mixed bag for me. The message of the movie was strong and I liked most of the performances from the actors. The music was good too. I was very much reminded of The Greatest Showman with the music and the choreography of the film, and while I did not like The Greatest Showman overall as a movie, I did think the music was extraordinary.
However, the film did feel too long and it seemed to take forever to get into the heart of the story. I felt as if the film was losing me early and I could see someone claiming that the movie was dull, especially the first half.
To be fair, the second half of the movie picked up the pace considerably and there was a pretty cool scene with Journey and her grandfather’s current apprentice Edison (Kieron L. Dyer) escaping from Gustafson’s factory. There was some early thought while watching this movie that I would fall into the minority of critics who did not like the movie, but the second half of the film did grab my attention considerably more than the first half.
I do believe that this movie would have benefitted from dropping some of the scenes in the film, but Forest Whitaker was wonderful, Keegan-Michael Key makes a solid villain and the young lead Madalen Mills is charming and powerful in her role. No doubt the performances and the music carry this film along.