Wow! Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is everything you could possibly want in a Christmas film and so much more. Every now and then a film comes along that whips up a recipe comprised of all the right things, and this is for sure one of those films. The script is wonderfully cheerful and fun, the cast is unbelievably talented, the set design is breathtakingly beautiful, and the songs are pitch perfect. I have a select few favorite holiday films that I watch every year as a tradition….and I think this is going to have to be added to that exclusive list.
Without a worthy script, no film can work properly, so it’s a great thing for this yuletide treat that it’s script prioritizes the correct things AND has near perfect timing. The story layout is handled with precision and the timeline of events is both entertaining/cheerful and touching. One of the fears I had after seeing the trailer for Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey was that it was going to be too childish and too sappy, but to my delight, the film is enjoyable for all ages and the emotion really does come across as genuine.
After you have a well written script the next necessity is a talented cast that’s capable of bringing this story to life and boy does Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey have a great one. I feel like the first cast member I need to gush over is Madalen Mills who plays the lead character Journey; Mills carries with her an infectious joy that practically reaches through the screen and hugs you. This young girl has a very bright future in this business, that’s for certain.
Then we of course have the every talented Forest Whitaker playing Mr. Jangle himself and he really commits and does a lovely job with it. Next up is the beloved Claire Huxtable herself, Phylicia Rashad, who plays the grandmother who narrates this magical story. Rashad is such a breath of fresh air is every project she takes part in and this is certainly no different, she brings a sweetness that is sure to make you grin ear to ear.
Keegan-Michael Key is a good fit for the thieving villain and although he doesn’t get to do all his usual outrageous comedy here, he still does a nice job. Ricky Martin does the voice of the tiny evil sidekick of Keys and he really does wonders with that expressionistic voice of his.
And the final cast member I must PRAISE is Lisa Davina Phillip….. I absolutely adored this woman! Phillip is a comedic upbeat delight as the town postal worker who has her heart set on Mr. Jangle; gosh she plays this part to absolute perfection! Onto these breathtaking set designs! The imagery used in this film just screams Christmas joy, there were actually several scenes where I just said “wow…”. I for one just love beautiful holiday scenes and this film sure has plenty.
The direction and camerawork is also top notch. Just like with the set designs, there were several sequences where I just marveled at the expert direction. You can tell that professionals who know their craft were behind the wheel of this car.
And of course this is a musical… so what about the songs and choreography?? Well I am here to tell you that the singing and dancing this film offers up is, like everything else, a true delight! The singing is just so beautiful, let me tell ya the singers here have some serious pipes. There’s so much soul and energy in every one of the songs performed. As far as choreography is concerned, while there isn’t as much dancing in this musical as others, there is some great choreography here and there that fits in very well.
I really cannot rave about Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey enough! This film is a fine example of the movie magic that can be created when talented people get together with a mission to bring their best to the table. So make some hot cider, cuddle up with a warm blanket, log onto Netflix… and sink your teeth into this deliciously merry treat.
Some southern melancholy after the Christmas cheer
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