By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Pure joy. That’s what audiences will experience when watching “Jingle Jangle” A Christmas Journey”
which debuts on Netflix Nov. 13.
Directed/written and co-produced by David E. Talbert
(“Almost Christmas” and “Baggage Claim”), and his wife Lyn Sisson-Talbert,
“Jingle Jangle” a Christmas Journey” is an exuberant, flashy and splashy movie musical that plays like a hit Broadway show.
It’s the perfect uplifting movie that we can ALL use right about now. Everything about “Jingle Jangle a Christmas Journey” feels special. The story is as warm and comforting as a cashmere sweater. The stellar cast includes Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose (TV’s “Them: Covenant”) and the delightful Lisa Davina Phillip (TV’s “Call the Midwife”).
Much of the music comes courtesy of John Legend, Philip Lawrence (Bruno Mars’ collaborator) and John Debney (“The Greatest Showman” and “The Jungle Book”) Ashley Wallen (Leona Lewis/Mariah Carey) delivers too on the “Jingle Jangle’s slick choreography.
While all that’s reason enough to love “Jingle Jangle a Christmas Journey,” there’s more to it than just song and dance. It is a smart and powerful story with a diverse cast. Did I mention that it’s a lot of fun too?
The movie begins with Grandmother Journey Phylicia Rashad (“Black Box” and upcoming “Creed III”) telling her grandkids the story of Jeronicus Jangle (the younger version played by Justin Cornwell, TV’s “InBetween” and older one by Forest Whitaker, upcoming “Respect”).
Jeronicus is a genius inventor/toymaker who owns the magical toy store “Jangles and Things.” While he’s created all sorts of interesting gadgets, his latest is a talking bullfighter doll named Don Juan (voiced by a funny Ricky Martin).
Jeronicus has so many great ideas in his head and on paper. His next big thing is way ahead of its time. But when his jealous apprentice Gustafson (a terrific Miles Barrow and later played by the always funny Keegan- Michael Key, upcoming, “The Prom”) steals his invention book, it sets off a chain of devastating events for Jeronicus and causes him to lose his toymaking touch. Even his wonderful emporium is about to being scooped up by the local banker, Mr. Delacroix (Hugh Bonneville, TV’s “DuckTales”).
It takes Jeronicus’ smart and spunky 10-year-old granddaughter Journey (Madalen Mills, TV’s “The Real”) and an assist from his nerdy toy store helper Edison (newcomer Kieron L. Dyer) to get him back to his toymaking ways and understand the real meaning of Christmas.
Netflix went all out for “Jingle Jangle a Christmas Journey.” It’s merry and bright and sure to become a Christmas classic.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.
Watch This Dazzling Trailer For "JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.