Jingle Jangle: A New Holiday Movie That Is Sure To Become A Classic

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Hannah Sullivan, Contributor

On November 6, Jingle Jangle was released, marking the beginning of the holiday season. The story is told by a grandmother, played by Phylicia Rashad, to her two grandchildren, narrating the life of Jeronicus Jangle. Jangle was the “greatest inventor of all,” living a happy life of making toys with his family, until his apprentice, Gustafson, deceived him. Gustafson had always felt unappreciated by Jeronicus, and, wanting to be an inventor himself, was convinced by Jeronicus’s brought-to-life toy, Don Juan Diego, to steal all of the inventions and run away. 

Left without his life’s work, Jeronicus seemed to have lost his spark, his magic ability to create, and his wife’s passing taking a toll on him. Eventually, he finds himself alone, working at the toy store-turned-pawnshop to make ends meet. However, he was struggling financially, having been given a deadline of Christmas to either pay his debts or come up with a “spectacular” invention. This task is made even more difficult when Gustafson creates plans to steal Jeronicus’s last invention he ever made.

When Jenoricus’s granddaughter, Journey, filled with the same passion for inventing that her grandfather had so long ago, visits him for the first time, she attempts to form a connection with him. He begrudgingly allows her to stay with him, still ignoring his past as an inventor. Between Journey, a young boy named Edison, and the widowed Ms. Johnston, Jeronicus gradually begins to find happiness again in places that he never expected.

The story is carried along by songs throughout, which brings a lively and exciting aspect to the movie. They are honestly pretty catchy songs that may get stuck in your head after hearing them! Standout songs were Gustafson’s reveal as a villain, “Magic Man G,” the opening number, “This Day,” and Ms. Johnston’s debut, “Miles and Miles.” The visuals used were a lot of bright and vibrant colors, both in the settings and the characters’ outfits, setting the mood and making it seem very fun and whimsical.

A major theme of the movie is the idea of believing in yourself, acting as an important lesson several times to many of the characters. It’s a very positive message that translated well, showing the character development in Jeronicus especially of opening up and having confidence in himself.

Jeronicus was played by Forest Whitaker, who did a nice job of showing the growth throughout the film, making the character likable even when he doubted himself. Journey was brought to life by Madalen Mills, whose first major movie role is Jingle Jangle. While a bit cheesy and cliche at times, she gives Journey a really good energy that is contagious. My personal favorite depiction of Jeronicus’s daughter Jessica Jingle was played by Anika Noni Rose, giving a beautifully-compelling performance as an actress and a singer. Gustafson was played by Keegan-Michael Key, who captured the jealousy and disappointment in Gustafson’s feelings toward Jeronicus while keeping the movie relatively lighthearted.

This diverse cast made for a great addition to the list of Christmas classics, since representation is something that is lacking in many holiday movies. Between the diverse director and writer, David E. Talbert, and the cast, this is huge progress for the movie industry. Having smart, kind, and good characters for everyone to relate to is so important, normalizing diversity in casting and giving good role models to all children. 

Overall, Jingle Jangle was a very enjoyable movie, really putting viewers into the holiday spirit in the best way. The plot, music, and visuals all contributed to the pleasing final product that made for a warm and entertaining film. Although young children will absolutely enjoy this movie, it can also be appreciated by the whole family. I would definitely recommend watching this during the winter months!