Netflix has really been pumping out the festive movies this year. Many are licensed through companies like Hallmark or Lifetime but there are a couple of Netflix Original gems and Jingle Jangle is one of them.
Starring Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, Jingle Jangle is a Christmas musical the revolves around Jeronicus Jangle, a toy inventor.
Jeronicus's life couldn't be going any better. He has a great family, business and has just created the first magical toy. But in an instant, it all changes when his apprentice Gustafson, tired of being overlooked, steals the toy and Jeronicus's book of inventions.
When his wife dies, Jeronicus's world comes to a halt. Distancing himself from his daughter, his business fails and soon all that is left is a shell of a man working as a pawnbroker and the bank is knocking on the door for repayment. Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key from Schmigadoon! and The Bubble) has gone on to be an award-winning toymaker on the back of the stolen inventions and all looks lost.
That is until Jeronicus's granddaughter Journey (Madalen Mills) shows up at his door. With her optimism and belief that things can get better, she awakens a spark of hope in Jeronicus. She also manages to get the last unfinished invention working – the Buddy 3000. But Gustafson has run out of ideas and plans to steal Buddy. So can Journey and Jeronicus save their invention and start again?
Everything about Jingle Jangle is visually stunning. From the costumes to the set design, it is a feast for the eyes. Similarly, the music is beautiful though or two songs are better than others. It has been compared to The Greatest Showman but that's not surprising given they are both musicals about family, love, loss, and hope.
The difference is the use of animation in Jingle Jangle. Bridging stories and time-lapses are the most fantastic stop motion and CGI animated scenes, narrated by Phylicia Rashad. It's quite a feat to be able to seamlessly blend so many styles into one movie.
Forest Whitaker (How It Ends) is a joy to watch which isn't a surprise given that he's one of the finest actors working today. But special mention has to go to Madalen Mills for her spirited and joyous portrayal of Journey, especially when she sings ‘Square Root of Possible'.
Overall I loved Jingle Jangle. It is a beautifully crafted story about surviving and rising from the ashes with a lovely sprinkle of magic that makes it the perfect Christmas family movie.