Starring: Forest Whitaker, Madalen Mills, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad, Lisa Davina Phillip, Ricky Martin, Justin Cornwell, Miles Barrow, Diana Babincova, Marisha Wallace, Kieron L. Dyer, Sharon Rose, Abraham Popoola, Tobias Poppe
Review: Decades after his apprentice Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key) betrays him, a once joyful toy maker named Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) finds new hope when his bright young granddaughter Journey (Madalen Mills) appears on his doorstep. With Journey's help, maybe Jeronicus can re-discover a world of wishes and wonder before it's too late.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is one of the new Netflix holiday flicks to hit the streaming service in 2020, and I must say, I really enjoyed this film for its fun and originality. Rather than re-hash an old Christmas trope that we've all seen 1,000 times, this film does a great job coming up with a new story about a revered toy maker who has fallen on hard times. Jeronicus Jangle was one of the most creative and ingenious toy makers, and after having one of his prized inventions stolen by his young apprentice, Gustafson, he struggles to maintain his toy shop. Decades later, and Gustafson is now a heralded toy maker who makes a living by stealing ideas from others, while Jeronicus is struggling to keep his pawn shop from foreclosure. This film is a prime example of a heartwarming riches-to-rags-to-riches redemption story. I thought Madalen Mills does a fantastic job in the granddaughter role, as she spends the majority of the movie trying to inspire her grandfather to remember a time in his life where anything was possible. Mills is a bright, exuberant young actress who does a great job sparking the hope and motivation to help Jeronicus get back on his feet.
This film is also a musical, and I thought the original songs were a lot of fun, performed brilliantly, and were a great complement to the unique plot. This film did a great job evoking Christmas cheer. My only criticism is that the movie became quite predictable, and the climactic scene was done rather abruptly. With that said, the acting was superb, the music was fantastic, and the setting beautifully displayed the themes of Christmas. Not to mention, there is a satisfying, sweet conclusion that will be sure to warm your heart like a cup of hot cocoa. There is a real sense of magic and flashiness to this film that will endear it to kids and adults alike. And for that reason, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a must-watch film this holiday season!