SOUNDBITE: Holiday film offers music, diversity

SOUNDBITE: Holiday film offers music, diversity

Film: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey  ♦♦♦◊◊

Do you like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Wall-E? The Greatest Showman? Well, if you do, this is the perfect movie for you.

  Written and directed by David E. Talbert and produced by John Legend, Lyn Talbert, Kristen Burr, David Mcllvain, and Mike Jackson, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey tells the story of believing in oneself and believing in the spirit of Christmas. 

  The story focuses on the a magical toy inventor played by Forrest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) and his family through three generations as they go against a rival toy maker played by Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele). 

  Personally, I didn’t really enjoy the movie as much as I thought I would. It seemed far too cliche and the plot moved far too slow. Granted, the movie is two hours long, but compared to other movies Jingle Jangle was focused more on character development than actual story. I think because of that, the ending of the movie felt rushed. The conflict action didn’t begin until the last quarter of the film. 

  Even then, the story had a rising action that happened very quickly. The conflict, and falling action, happened just as fast. Everything after that point was sloppy storytelling; it was easy to tell that they were rushing to fit into their allotted time. 

  Besides that, the characters were likeable and realistic. I’m sure anyone who watches the movie can relate to a character. Since the movie is also a musical, the songs were amazing. The music in the movie is all in the Swing/Jazz/Soul genre, reminding me of “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin. Even as a musical, Jingle Jangle didn’t shove a song down your throat every scene. Every song was good, though. The songs aren’t exactly ones that stick around in your head, like The Greatest Showman, but they’re catchy in the movie.

  The animation in this movie is phenomenal. The co-villain is a toy who comes to life played by Ricky Martin of Latin pop group Menudo fame. All the characters come to life out of a story book as marionettes who eventually morph into actual humans in a very cool way as this Victorian fantasy plot unfolds.

  A little fun fact that I found interesting, was that Jingle Jangle took 22 years to make. Talbert had struggled with creating the movie because he could not get understand the viewpoint of a child. Eventually, his wife had a child and he was able to finally understand a child’s viewpoint and get his movie written. 

  Another milestone is that this movie is produced, written, directed and acted by a diverse group. Tarrant has said that classics of this caliber like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang lacked diversity.

  Jingle Jangle hits the mark of being a nice watch for the holidays, but its target audience is children. Kids would find a lot more joy and magic in a movie that teaches about the dangers of greed and giving up. Overall, it’s an “only watch it once” or a “you aren’t missing much” type movie if you are a teenager or adult.