Don’t worry if you don’t get Jingle Jangle – you’re not alone

Fun fact: Jingle Jangle actually means making a sound like metal objects hitting each other. Another fun fact: it’s also slang for a fictitious stimulant sold in Riverdale. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey combines both those concepts into a visually compelling, competently acted and sung, steam-punk family musical that may make you feel high or like you’re seriously tripping balls.

What the heck is Jingle Jangle all about?

You know, I’m still trying to figure that out. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey tells the tale of an inventor. But not like Thomas Edison. No. He and his family have some sort of magic in them.

The story starts with the inventor receiving the final ingredient he needs to make the greatest toy ever. Or as Iron Chef would say, the secret ingredient.

The inventor suddenly breaks out in song and dance. The sudden song and dance number threw me for a loop momentarily. I guess I should have read the description of the movie before starting it for my kid.

It’s a musical. There. Now you won’t get caught off guard.

After Jeronicus finishes his ditty and gives away his entire inventory, he finishes his best creation. The doll, a little bull fighter, comes to life, learns he will not be one of kind soon, and conspires with the assistant to run away.

Through a montage, we learn Jeronicus pretty much loses everything, including his mental shit. Meanwhile his former assistant becomes the greatest toy maker in the world.

Years pass and the “journey” begins with his estranged grand daughter, appropriately named, Journey. Taking a cue from other Christmas movies, Jingle Jangle makes sure the young girl is plucky and bordering on annoying. She visits her grandfather and refuses to give up on him.

With patience and love, she eventually melts his icy heart.

And other shit happens. They steal back a creation and eventually everything works out. I can’t explain much else.

I believe my 6 year old understood this movie better than me.

Who’s in the movie?

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey actually had a decent and diverse cast of characters. You probably will recognize several of them from other movies or shows. Some highlights include:

  • Forest Whitaker – he plays the old man version of Jeronicus and has starred in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and other movies.
  • Keegan-Michael Key – he’s been in lots of shit you might recognize him from, like The Predator or Let’s Be Cops. He plays the older version of the assistant who steals the plans to the best toy ever.
  • Madalen Mills – plays Journey, the granddaughter, and though I don’t really care for overly plucky characters, she did a very good job portraying the character.
  • Ricky Martin – he voices the doll that comes to life and doesn’t really need an introduction if you grew up in the 90s.
  • Anika Noni Rose – Tiana from The Princess Frog and Wreck It Ralph 2. She’s done other stuff, too.

For a full list, go to IMDb. They take the time to list everyone out. I don’t. I’m too laz

Is Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey family friendly?

Jingle Jangle is a 2020 family musical marketed from Christmas. It’s so family oriented, you’ll probably need your kids to explain to you what in the actual hell is going on.

As my wife and I watched, perplexed at what we saw, my 6 year old enjoyed every minute. She seemed to thoroughly grasp the concepts of the movie and explained to us what happened.

I guess she hasn’t quite lost the Christmas spirit. I guess I have.

Oh well, it kept her quiet for almost 2 hours. And if you are lucky, you may be able to doze off while you watch it with the kids.

Where can I watch the movie?

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey released to Netflix in November 2020. You’ll need to bum your friend’s Netflix login again if you want to watch it or pony up and order Netflix yourself. Eventually, they may sell the DVD or Blu-ray copy at fine retailors like Walmart or Target, but right now you can only stream it from Netflix.

Is Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey any good?

That depends. Are you 10 or younger? If yes, you will probably enjoy it enough.

A word of warning, it’s just about 2 hours long. Your kids might get bored. You might get bored. Hell, you might find yourself wishing another torture on yourself as the minutes drag on.

To be fair, several good actors and actresses perform in the movie. John Legend and Philip Lawrence created the music. And the whole movie offered decent visuals.

You may find yourself slack jawed and in awe the whole time. Or you may find yourself counting the seconds until it is over and wondering if you just saw the clock move backward in time. Given the acid trip nature of the movie, I’d say it may be a little of both.

Still, you cannot possibly find Jingle Jangle worse than Santa Buddies. If you do, we need to talk.

Why you don't need to worry if you don't get Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Overall
2.5
  • Plot
    (2)
  • Characters
    (3)
  • Watchability
    (2.5)
User Review
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Dad's Take

Ever get the feeling you’re lost before you even left home? That’s how I felt watching Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey.

Lots of noise. Lots of visually appealing things. And lots of moving parts and noise.

So yeah, I’m pretty convinced this movie is the noise the Grinch tried to warn us about years ago.

No, it’s not entirely bad. The music, acting, and visual effects all reeked of quality. It just left my wife and I wondering: what the fuck did we just watch?

Meanwhile, my 6 year old daughter sat there awed and amused the whole time.

We had to watch it in a few shifts, due in part to its length and our schedules.  But she looked forward to each segment. My wife and I both sort of hoped she’d forget about the movie, like she does the level of Halloween candy she had before she goes to bed at night or that expensive toy she keeps talking about at Target.

But no luck. She dragged us through the whole movie, explaining to us the plot as we sat there in a bit of a stupor as our minds wandered to times when we could watch movies that interested us. You know. Times like a week or so ago when my wife had me watch Holidate or One Royal Holiday. Married choices.

If you decide to embark on Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey prepare for your children to grasp the plot better than you. You may also want to try having a drink or two before starting it. Maybe it would help?

Pros

Decent musical numbers.

A number of good actors and actresses.

The plot felt somewhat different from other Christmas oriented movies.

Cons

Confusing AF for people over the age of 10.

Felt very long

Not much appealed to adults.

Nathan

Nathan is not a published author, professional movie critic, or avid fan of most children shows. He is a caring father (when he's not banging his head against the wall), a movie connoisseur of sorts literally able to have full conversations in movie and TV quotes, and dedicated to helping other parents avoid starting a show with their small children that they will soon regret. In his free time, he does nothing. He has two small children. Free time does not exist.

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