Newest Reviews
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Souvenir Part II, The
400 Blows, The
Virus: 32
Studio 666
Great Movement, The
Lost in La Mancha
Cellar, The
Sacred Spirit, The
Chess of the Wind
Nineteen Eighty-Four
All I Can Say
You Are Not My Mother
Newest Articles
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
  Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey Don't call him Jerry
Year: 2020
Director: David E. Talbert
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose, Madelen Mills, Phylicia Rashad, Ricky Martin, Justin Cornwell, Sharon Rose, Lisa Davina Phillip, Kieron L. Dyer, Miles Barrow, Diaana Babnicova, Ria Calvin, Kenyah Sandy, Tobias Poppe
Genre: Musical, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Long ago, as a mysterious woman (The Cosby Show's Phylicia Rashad) recounts to her two wide-eyed grandchildren, Professor Jeronicus Jangle (Justin Cornwell) was the most ingenious, most celebrated inventor and toymaker in the vibrant town of Cobbleton. Until that fateful day when Jeronicus' embittered young apprentice Gustafson (Miles Barrow) absconded with his precious book of inventions, at the behest of the inventor's latest mechanical marvel: the vain and petulant doll Don Juan (voiced by Ricky Martin of 'La Vida Loca' fame). Devastated by this betrayal and the subsequent loss of his beloved wife, Jeronicus turns his back on his only daughter and retreats into seclusion. Years later the now adult Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key) reigns supreme as the town's wealthiest and most popular toymaker but, having long since exhausted his stolen designs, is in desperate search of something new. Meanwhile an old and jaded Jeronicus (Forest Whitaker) ekes out a humble living as a pitiful pawnbroker. Until the arrival of his granddaughter Journey (Madelen Mills), a peppy youngster with a heart full of gumption and a heedful of dreams, determined to reunite Jeronicus with her mother (Anika Noni Rose) and his own self-belief.

On the surface writer-director David E. Talbert's seasonal themed musical fantasy holds all the ingredients for a Christmas classic. Sumptuous art direction, costumes and production design combine to create a tactile, evocative pop-up steampunk wonderland. One festooned with charmingly retro-designed animated sequences and exuberant R & B inflected song-and-dance numbers. The latter courtesy of a host of talented tunesmiths including co-producer John Legend with the bulk of the score orchestrated by veteran John Debney. A stellar cast unquestionably enter into the yuletide spirit. Alongside an engaging debut for young newcomer Madelen Mills that contrasts nicely with Forest Whitaker's world-weary turn, comedian Keegan-Michael Key is especially good as an unusually faceted antagonist whose motives prove relatable and desperation palpable.

Alas, for all these positives, about a third of a way through it becomes apparent that Talbert's Christmas confection is mostly frosting. After a solid start, for all its good intentions and sincere attempts at uplifting messages, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey struggles to pull off a cohesive story. Part Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), part A Christmas Carol with bits of Toys (1992), Santa Claus: The Movie (1985), Short Circuit (1986) and even A Beautiful Mind (2001) thrown in, the narrative grows increasingly unfocused and chaotic. As a consequence the film's sporadic scenes of weighty emotional drama fall a trifle flat in spite of the cast's valiant efforts. At one point Journey sings an uplifting song about overcoming obstacles. Yet the plot arguably fails to provide with any substantial obstacles to overcome. She is bright and courageous kid, surrounded by a loving family that recognize her genius, living in a magical quasi-Victorian wonderland miraculously free of misogyny and racism. Aside from a deflated grandpa, Journey has it comparatively easy.

As pleasant as they are the musical numbers don't always gel with the narrative. Also there is too much attention allotted to superfluous supporting characters, whether it is accident-prone apprentice Edison (Kieron L. Dyer, resurrecting Steve Urkel) or besotted mail delivery woman Mrs. Johnston (Lisa Davina Philipp) with her alarmingly aggressive advances towards grieving widower Jeronicus. Conversely too little attention is paid to seemingly significant elements. Jeronicus Jangle's miracle invention the robot Buddy 2000 (voiced by Tobias Poppe), supposedly crucial to the story's outcome, has very little screen-time and even less personality. The same goes for ostensible antagonist Don Juan whose motives are too simplistic and vague. The plot is arguably heavy-handed in its condemnation of Gustafson and strangely tries to excuse that it was Jeronicus' mistreatment of his former apprentice that turned him into an adversary. Ultimately one's enjoyment of Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey depends on resisting the urge to seek true depth and wonder beneath its glittering spectacle.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 453 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed


Last Updated: